ILOILO City – Ilonggo writer and lawyer Ramon Muzones is set to be posthumously declared National Artist for Literature by President Rodrigo Duterte today in Malacañang, according to an advisory released by the Palace yesterday.
Muzones (March 20, 1913 – Aug. 17, 1992) was a prolific writer in Hiligaynon and credited for developing and popularizing Hiligaynon literature through his poems, short stories, essays, and novels.
He wrote a total of 62 novels during his lifetime. His obra maestra called Margosatubig in 1946 was considered the first Hiligaynon bestseller.
Writing for Hiligaynon magazine, Muzones caught public attention and adulation with his works such as the popular Kuting-Kuting sa Kudyapi.
His first novel for Hiligaynon was Tibud nga Bulawan 1938.
Muzones scored many firsts in Hiligaynon literature such as the first Hiligaynon roman a clef, Maambong nga Sapat in 1938; first Hiligaynon feminist novel, Bagong Maria Clara in 1939; first Hiligaynon comedy novel, Tamblot in 1948; and first Hiligaynon political satire, Si Tamblot Kandidato Man in 1949.
His Dama de Noche in 1980 is deemed the longest serialized Hiligaynon novel.
Muzones was one of the founders of Sumakwelan, a pioneering organization of Hiligaynon writers.
He was awarded the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas by the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas in 1988, the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining in 1989, and the Gawad Bonifacio sa Panitikan Centennial Award granted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts on Nov. 22, 1997.
Muzones was the first of 10 children of Santiago Muzones from Miag-ao, Iloilo and Florentina Larupay. He worked his way to school through his writings and also saw to it that his siblings, too.
He took his pre-law course at Far Eastern University and his law degree at Central Philippine University in 1952.
Muzones married Adelaida de la Cruz of Kabankalan, Negros Occidental; they had seven children.
(Source: Muzones, Ramon. (2015). In V. Almario (Ed.), Sagisag Kultura (Vol 1). Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved from philippineculturaleducation.com.ph)