J.J. Early Years

J.J. Education

J.J. Achievements

J.J. Masterpiece

J.J. Children

People behind
Julian Navarro Jumalon
Born in Binondo, Manila on October 18, 1909

People Behind the Julian N. Jumalon Foundation

The Julian N. Jumalon Foundation, Incorporated operates the Butterfly Sanctuary, Mini-Museum and Art Gallery.  The three children of Prof. Jumalon who live in the ancestral home within the Butterfly Sanctuary have been operating the affairs of the sanctuary since their father died in July 2000. They are Humaida,  Renato (who recently passed away), and Osman (Julian Jr.). They serve as tour guides and lecturers at any given time.

The pilot Butterfly Sanctuary was established in 1974 by the late Prof. Julian N. Jumalon in an area of 1,460 sq. meter compound which has provided a natural habitat of fifty-six butterfly species and several moths and associated fauna. It is in itself a veritable botanical garden with more than 100 plant species, mostly serving as part of the life-support system of butterflies in their larval and adult stages.

Julian Jumalon: A Profile of an Artist

In more ways than one, Julian N. Jumalon has lived up to the expectations of his University of the Philippines (UP) Fine Arts professors, particularly Professors Fernando Amorsolo and Guillermo Tolentino, when they voted for and awarded him FIRSTPRIZE for the coveted 1939 UP ANNUAL, “Philipinensian,” cover design, a treasured addition to three medals he had earned in the traditional yearly UP Student Art Exhibitions.

Jumalon’s adventure in arts started when he was an adolescent “provinciano” trying to capture the evanescent beauty of tropical butterflies during his excursions into the hinterlands of Zamboanga.  That was almost two generations ago. Today, Jumalon was an accomplished artist in his own right with his paintings and butterfly mosaics somehow making their way into the art collections in countries in four continents (Japan, Hongkong, Australia, U.S., Red China, Germany, Austria, England, and the Vatican) without so much as joining group exhibits abroad, now almost a yearly ritual among artists under government or private sponsorship.

Jumalon – with three first prizes before the World War I had stopped further participation in painting contests in 1954, when his entry, while duly acknowledged, was never returned (from Manila), His stature as an artist was reflected when one of this vintage oil painting – “Esteros, Manila” (1936) – was been forged and sold to a collector as an original Jumalon. Ironically, the forgery was also printed in prize-winning author and UP Art Professor Alice G. Guillermo’s book, Cebu: A Heritage of Art (1991).


Even the Emergency Currency Notes that the government commissioned Jumalon to design at the outbreak of World War II, consisting eighteen sets (36 drawings) of denominations for Cebu, nine sets for Negros, and four set for Iloilo and Mindanao (a.k.a. Guingona money) are now collector’s items. Incidentally, the Philippine government has yet to redeem its written promise, still pending in the bureaucratic maze, to pay Jumalon after the war (May 1993 issue of the Numismatist, Vol. 106, No. 5, Col, U.S.A.).

His Life

At 90, Jumalon was still very much en rapport with his muse. Without regard for his own mortality, he embarked on a new series of Philippine national heroes to complement his butterfly mosaics of great Cebuanos Lapu-lapu, Rajah Tupas, President Osmeña, and the lepido-mosaic portrait of Rizal now hanging in the gallery.


But a much bolder step was Jumalon’s returning to oil painting after a hiatus of 40 years. His eyes had dimmed but his canvass acquired a new light all its own. And “Tigmo-tigmo Agukoy” his first since, was a happy result. At close up, the work looks like mere patches of paints. But when viewed at the normal focusing distance of five to ten feet, it takes on a life and depth that usually elude even the photo-realist. A Japanese friend, also a lepidopterist and artist, acquired it immediately with the standing invitation to exhibit Jumalon’s other works in Chichibu City, Japan. The same can be said of his another piece an oil painting version of “Old Colon Street,” also acquired by Mr. Masahiro Kasahara. Meanwhile, patrons and friends had to wait patiently for Jumalon’s creation as, with other works in progress at the time, not to mention the hours he regularly devoted to imparting his biophilia to the upcoming generation in his butterfly garden in Basak Cebu City. It took many months for him to finish a painting, but at the age of 91, Julian N. Jumalon Passed away.

Most recently, in January 2000, “Julian n. Jumalon, the Butterfly Artist” was chosen as among the 100 MOST NOTABLE CEBUANOS OF THE CENTURY by the Historical Association of Cebu, Inc. and the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos.

From long-gone rain forests of Zamboanga, the dried-up creeks of Cebu City, the new dryad-desert butterfly collecting haunts, Julian N. Jumalon, the complete artist and lepidopterist has indeed come a long way. His guiding and abiding principle was that if only each person on earth could take care of himself and his environment, the lost Eden where peace and harmony with nature reigns might yet be regained. The Butterfly Sanctuary, hopefully, is a step toward that end.