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Margosatubig: The Story of Salagunting


Ramon L. Muzones claims his rightful place in the national literature of the Philippines with Cecilia Locsin-Nava's English translation of Margosatubig, a Hiligaynon novel that was to re-write the history of the West Visayan fiction when it first appeared as a serial novel in 1946 in the pages of the popular magazine Yuhum. Muzones tells the story of a fictive Muslim state in Mindanao that loses its legitimate rulers through intrigue and treachery and how the hero-heir Salagunting leads the struggle to recover Margosatubig from the usurpers. Muzones shows himself a master of narrative invention in 30 installments that unfold a wealth of precolonial lore that blended romance, adventure, fantasy, subtle eroticism, and geographic information that so fascinated magazine readers and made Yuhum's weekly circulation jump from 2,500 to 37,000.

Dr. Nava's is a wonder-work of an English translation, literate and literary, a rare, readable English version of a regional literary treasure. It is a lucid, unornamented rendition of the original Yuhum novel that manages quite effectively to suggest the delicious sensation of following the development, chapter by chapter, of the serialized popular novel. Through her labors, she has effectively secured for Muzones a position in the line-up for the title National Artist for Literature. --Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature.