J.J. Early Years

J.J. Education

J.J. Achievements

J.J. Masterpiece

J.J. Children

His Masterpiece

Presumably, just like the works of Manila-based National Artist, Jumalon’s innovative works, the lepido – mosaics are regularly listed in most local and foreign tourist booklets and brochures on what to see in Cebu, as probably they are found nowhere else in the world. This, in effect, helps in the promotions of Philippine tourism, art and culture abroad, while at the same time generating goodwill from local and foreign visitors, amply shown in their remarks in several volumes of guest books. In the opinion of one visiting Italian artist, creating the butterfly mosaic, with all its limitations in availability of colors as well as quantity, must be just like performing of violin or guitar concert with one of the strings removed.

People behind

Oil Painting of Old Colon Street (now in Japan)


Jumalon’s work in the visual arts are not limited to oil and watercolor paintings. He has done as well several sculptures, including commissioned bust portraits of Don Guillermo Aboitiz (1935), Sen. Vicente Sotto (1936 and 1948), Tolaram (pre-war Manila), all of which, except for the 1948 Sotto portrait now in the Cebu City Museum, perished during the war. In Cebu, when color photographs and color printing were still decades away, Jumalon pioneered in airbrush portraiture (1937 up) and serigraphy (1947 up), designing and printing souvenir program and school annual covers, ribbons and posters (now aloes collector’s items). His extant charcoal figure drawings during his college days at UP and pen and ink drawing are in storage or display at the Jumalon Art Gallery (open free to public).

Whereas according to V. Nabokov, “Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man,” It may be said that painting and butterflies are Jumalon’s two greatest passions. Thus you can’t separate the artist from the lepidopterist in Jumalon. As in fact some of the flora (orchids, Lantan, Ixora, Heliconius, and Coleus) and fauna (gecko, frog, cicada, dragonfly, mantis, bugs and beetles) that thrive in his Butterfly Sanctuary (also open free to public) are captured for posterity in his series on Visayan folklore and nature paintings. And of course he recycles discarded butterfly wings (mostly supplied by fellow collectors abroad) into a unique art medium aptly called “lepido-mosaic,” which pictorial qualities at times surpass oil paints. Renowned American wildlife painter A.E. Gilbert says of the electric blue South American morpho butterflies that he would give his soul to paint iridescence. Jumalon simply has utilized such iridescent wings to depict the coruscating colors in his under seascape “Oscillations” and again in the mosaic “parrot”, now owned by a noted Japanese art critic and banker. No doubt the same creative spirit that drove Picasso to use newsprint in his collage and other artists to incorporate “found objects” in their works, has driven Jumalon to explore the painterly possibilities of unconventional materials such as bird feathers and butterfly wings.

Parenthically, Jumalon was not just an ordinary butterfly collector. As a serious student of lepidopterology, he has to his credit a number of articles in scientific journals in USA, Japan, Spain and the Philippines on the complete life histories and food plant specificity of several Philippine butterflies and descriptions of about 30 Philippine butterfly species and subspecies which are hailed as new to science. Along the way, the University of San Carlos conferred on Jumalon an unprecedented Master of Science degree, honoris causa. Three new Philippine butterflies have been named in his honor by German, English and Japanese lepidopterists.