J.J. Early Years

J.J. Education

J.J. Achievements

J.J. Masterpiece

J.J. Children

People behind
Julian Jumalon's Early Years

Julian N. Jumalon was born in Calle Principe (now Delpan) in Binondo, Manila on October 18, 1909. According to his mother, his Lola's cousin, the famous Bishop Gregorio Aglipay, was the one who baptized him. And there was an impressive party wherein an Indian magician entertained visitors. His grandmother was from Ilocos Norte, an Ilocana of the Dumlao clan. She married a half Spaniard, Marcial Navarro, and they lived in San Narciso, Zambales, where they became land owners. His mother alluded to his Lola as a wastrel and a gambler so what remained of their large estate was only about 24 hectares when his grandma, Simeona Dumlao, died. Her husband died much earlier after three of the four daughters (Emiliana, Basilisa, & Carmen) got married (leaving only Lazara unmarried). Simeona remarried to Antonio Tael with whom she had two children, Pilar and Giorgio.

Julian N. Jumalon's father was Claudio Homboy Jumalon of Zamboanga City who married his mother, Carmen, in 1908. He was a Boiler of "USS Pathfinder," sister ship of "USS Fathomer,", both assigned to the Philippines, after the United States defeated the Spaniards in Manila Bay, to start mapping and sounding the Philippine waters in the over 7000 islands and islets.

Jumalon was barely 2 ½ years old when his father took the family to Zamboanga where his father was employed as operator of a launch that would load copra from the towns of Zamboanga. On the way to Zamboanga the family was marooned in Cebu because of the famous and fiercest hurricane of 1912. They resided at what is now Pelaez St., between Colon and Sanciangco, a part of Barrio Kalubihan. There were plenty of coconut trees in the area, hence its name. They proceeded to Zamboanga in the latter part of that year. His only sister, Anselma, was born in Zamboanga in 1914. Transplanted to Zamboanga, they became in due time a chavacano-speaking family, including his aunt, Lazara, whom his mother did not like to be entrusted to her other sisters, his Tia Masay and Tia Miling, both of whom his mother considered high-toned, "suplada" and aloft, signs of still assertive Spanish blood. So his Tia Sarang grew up in their household, together with his Tia Juana and Tia Rosario, younger sisters of his father. These 3 girls shared their household in Balete, and were influenced by his mother's morality, taste and high sense of responsibility, especially as a wife and in household chores. The spurning of Caviteños and Pampangueños in songs and satire, was now replaced by "No te bayas, no te bayas de ZAmboanga," and its spirit of nostalgia, seasoned with the Muslim and American-Spanish atmosphere, at a time when "huramentados" were subdued by the goodness of Datu Mandi, whose friendliness to Col. John Pershing was well known to all.

Tio Vicente was a younger brother of his father and was Julian's first trainer in farm life and craft, such as snaring birds, digging for blue crabs (alimango), hunting for wild fruits, bird's nests, and diving for edible algae and poisoning fish in the shallow mangroves, using "lagtang" fruits. His grandfather usually visited them by means of a row-boat, bringing them fruits and farm products. Many times Julian was the only passenger on his way back to the farm to stay for a few days.

Julian's grandfather (Lolo Tacio, his father's father) originated from Siquijor Island. All the scattered Jumalons originated from one clan based in this small island in the Visayas. He was a homesteader and married a local girl and they had five children. Julian's father was the second child. When they were in Zamboanga, the farm was about ten hectares. It was mostly planted with corn and sugarcane, with plenty of root crops, bananas and other fruits. Julian thought that possibly they have Chinese ancestors. The original family name might have been Ho-Mah-Long, who knows? In that case, his love of nature came from Chinese blood, while that of art, came from his Spanish blood. In both is that adventurous spirit, the unrestrained curiosity and the boiling blood of the wanderer. Lolo Tacio's farm was situated at Barrio Logoy, some five kilometers from Balete, surrounded by jungle and small farms.

In those days Zamboanga had a few persons who knew about machines. His father was a qualified Engineer for motor-driven ships, not steamships. He took government examinations now and then until he became Chief Engineer of inter-island boats. He was among the first Zamboangueños who knew how to operate a truck. They resided in Zamboanga up to 1919, February, barely two months after the Armistice of World War I .

While in Zamboanga, as a child, Jumalon experienced something that contributed greatly in shaping his future life. This is how he described the episode in his own words in his autobiography: "The rush one mid-morning to a nearby nipa grove to cut nipa fronds and use them for swapping at the cavorting swarm of light-colored butterflies, was a brisk and excitable delight of my gang of barefooted boys in our neighborhood - ranging in age from four to eight. We were all pre-school ages. We were often together, whether we were fishing at the nearby bridge, hunting for bird's nests, raiding hillsides for guavas, digging for "kuray" or "talanka" crabs, clamming at the soft mud in the nipa grove, or combing the "cementera" (grass meadow) for kangkong to please our elders and escape the indispensable "chinelas" (slippers) of our mothers whenever we return home ornamented with mud, scratches and stain by wild berry juices and torn clothes. It was a gang of little rascals at home in the sun or drenching rain. How I long to be back in those glorious days of childhood!

People behind

Lola Mameng with the first three Jumalon children,
Ariel, Humaida & Renato

"The butterflies came from the direction of the city, a moving swarm like that of migratory locusts. The whole Balete (town) was stirred, alarmed and dumbfounded. Elders shouted at us not to molest the visitors. They linked the phenomenon to the Supernatural. All were confused by the suddenness of the unusual event. To us children it was fun, a new sensation to match past experiences with the influx of crabs and locusts. It was some five decades before I had to write a comprehensive paper on butterfly migration for our USC Biology Dept. So, unknowingly, as early as the First World War, I was able to witness a butterfly migration in memorable Balete of my childhood." (His interest in butterflies was greatly augmented by a book, A Girl of the Limberlost, which he read as a second year student at the Abellana High School. This is a novel in which the main character, a poor girl, collected and sold butterflies to fulfill her dream of getting an education. Jumalon was so inspired by this story of triumph over adversity that he began collecting butterflies.)

The family came to Cebu when Julian was 9 years old. Cebu was only a name he occasionally heard from the family conversation. On arrival, the family lived at Calle Committee where there was a corner church. From there the street was lined with Ilang-ilang trees with sweet fragrance, the row extending to corner Sanciangco. His mother's elder sister, Basilisa, lived near them. She was married to Captain Eleno Tupaz of Capiz, who was assigned by a shipping firm in Manila to Cebu. Another distant auntie, Felisa, was wife of another sailor Captain, Hinaro Fabian.

Committee was renamed Leon Kilat in the late 1920s. They also had lived in Kalubihan, Laguna, San Nicolas, Pahina, Cogon, Labangon, back to Kalubihan until the war, then back to Labangon. It was in 1974 that the family of Julian transferred to the inherited lot of his wife, Feling, in Basak Pardo. The family suffered much during such flights; they were like birds without a nest after his father's death when he was fourteen. His mother, Carmen, sacrificed so much to educate him and his sister. His mother, a pretty Spanish mestiza vowed never to marry again and so rejected 4 proposals for marriage; besides, Julian and Anselma did not like to have a stepfather. Without rich relatives, a business of any sort, nor a farm to cultivate, they managed to survive. His mother's inheritance in Zambales and his father's inheritance in Zamboanga were far away and squatted by relatives.

Through odds and ends, his sister and he acquired elementary, high school and college education, like many others, minus the luxury of nice and expensive clothes, car, and jewelries. Each got married in a decent way and raised families in a much better situation than many others and were able to acquire materials for better living. They treasure the hard beginning and precious experiences and learned to live happily without complaining and enjoyed their social life with people of all kinds, although careful with their association. They were at home with people of all status and color, keeping to themselves their idiosyncrasies, taste, ideals and secrets. All there is now is to be grateful to that mysterious Providence, by being good, doing good, and share what there is to share, and endeavor to make their environment a better place to live in by everybody.

In his way of seeing, to become a Cebuano, even not by birth, is to do what local people themselves have not thought of which is beneficial to all and will not infringe on their culture, tradition and mode of living. Fuse with them. Comparing Cebu with Zamboanga, Cebu had more churches, better schools, had a stone fort, better harbor, more people, three theaters (or silent movie houses): Ideal, Royo, and Oriente. It loves fiestas, too, had miraculous saints, many old houses, many Chinese people and stores, tartanillas instead of calesas, no colorful Moro and fast vintas, no durian, marang, juani, mangosteen, baluno and chupadera. The main street , Magallanes, is longer and wider than Zamboanga's Jovellar, but also many Chinese stores. On the commercial streets run the noisy wagons pulled by horses and a railroad that extended to the muelle, where there were many passenger and cargo boats, with big foreign merchant vessels loading copra, abaca, maguey, and other minor products. Plaza Independencia was more interesting than Plaza Pershing, with huge rubber and acacia trees.

The daily pleasure of city people was the silent movie. There were three silent movie houses. Cine Royo, owned by a rich Spanish merchant, Don Pedro Royo, was located in corner Juan Luna - Nueva Streets (Nueva is now Gullas St.). On the corner of Carmelo - J. Luna Sts. was Royo's Almasen, a big store. Cine Ideal was nearly in front of the present site of Oriente, owned by Mr. Schneider; Oriente, owned by the Avila family, was on its present location, adjacent to the printing press of the Advertiser of the Avilas, was earlier known as the Olympic Theater. Next to it, towards the corner of the conjunction of Colon and another street, was the miniature golf link. Cine Royo charged only five centavos; Ideal - ten centavos; and Oriente - twenty centavos. When Ideal charged five centavos temporarily, Royo lowered theirs to three centavos and children were free. Of course, on Thursdays, it was Revista at Ideal. All films shown the whole week was given a grand review, so Ideal on such days was "bursting at the seams." Customers from Talisay to Mandaue begin arriving in the morning with their provisions. At one o'clock, opening hour, the building begins filling up with a nondescript crowd from all city districts. The different odors mixing with the aroma of provisions, soon made the afternoon air suffocating. In those days all movie houses were breeding places of large populations of "dugho" (bedbugs) as also all passenger boats going to other ports of Cebu and even bigger ships going toManila.

People behind

The only sister of Julian N. Jumalon, Anselma J. Taay, and family (in California, U.S.A.)