Aboard the Giant Clam: Ramon Muzones’s Maritime Historicization of the Nation
Philippine literature scholarship is currently interested in decentering the discourse of nation-building from the capital to the periphery, but least often is attention given to the very geography that makes these communities marginalized. Habitually, multiculturalism and multilingualism have been convenient explanations for why it is difficult for the Philippines to come up with a “national literature” and a paradigm for imagining a nation. This essay centers on this neglected aspect, casting a novel written by a marginalized author in a vernacular language – the Margosatubig (1946) by Ramon Muzones. Three prime objectives guided the navigation of this paper: (1) to posit Ramon Muzones in “national” literary and cultural research; (2) to appraise the maritime characteristic of the novel in evoking historical and ethnic affinities, mythic discoveries and heroic greatness, and individual and national psyche; and, (3) to present “archipelagic imagination” as a geopolitical shape for homeland-imaging.