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Jumalon Museum, Butterfly Sanctuary and Art Gallery
by Teresa M. Sepulveda and Gerry Malixi
Photos by Teresa M. Sepulveda
March 8, 2009

Nestled in the bustling district of Basak, Pardo in Cebu City, Philippines is a lush pocket paradise replete with endemic, tropical butterflies and a resplendent art gallery.  This pulchritudinous nature sanctuary is run by Humaida Jumalon, daughter of the late renowned lepidopterist, Professor Julian Jumalon.

Professor Julian Jumalon dedicated his life to the preservation and study of butterflies, moths, and other winged insects .  In the course of his studies, Professor Jumalon would sometimes come across butterfly specimens with broken wings or body parts.  Unwilling to let these delicate insects go to waste, the professor was inspired to use the butterfly wings as a medium for lepido-mosaics, allowing their ethereal beauty to expressively portray this unique art form.  Professor Jumalon's famous paintings and mosaics are housed in the museum, making the sanctuary a popular tourist attraction.  The nature preserve also provides a rich font of knowledge for scholars and students collecting data or wanting to learn more about the order Lepidoptera.

A visit to the place reminded us of the indigenous and natural wealth of the Philippines. We were amazed at the beautiful and wide color spectrum exhibited by Philippine butterflies.  The place is landscaped with plants known to attract native butterflies.  Curator and owner Humaida noted that butterflies are specific to a particular plant for the laying of their larvae (young).  If a plant becomes extinct or scarce, it will also mean the existence of that particular butterfly is threatened.  To prevent this, she actively and publicly lobbies for the plants perpetuation.  Many are considered as weeds and are slowly being denuded from the riverbanks.  To inform the public about the need to preserve butterfly ecosystems, she is in the process of writing a book on Philippine flora specifically to encourage and sustain butterflies in our midst.

Aside from plants, Humaida is knowledgeable about scents that attract butterflies.. Butterflies are attracted to a flower for nectar and scents are a "come hither" signal.  She demonstrated to us how some locally manufactured perfumes entice the fluttering beauties.  It was fun to see the butterflies hover around as soon as she sprayed the fragrance.  To further lure the butterflies to her garden, Humaida adorned the place with brightly colored sponges drenched  with her formulated syrups aimed at keeping the butterflies healthy.

To help sustain the museum and to raise much needed funds,  the sancturay sells cultured butterflies, which are popularly used for release at weddings and parties.  These help to propagate the butterfly population in the wild.

Wondering how to effortlessly keep and cultivate a tropical garden with a profusion of butterflies? Come visit this fascinating sanctuary and learn how.  Only a nominal fee is required to partake of this visual and redolent feast.

Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary, Museum and Art Gallery
20-D Macopa Street,
Basak, Pardo, Cebu City
Phone: +63-32-261-6884
Curator and Owner: Humaida Jumalon

A tourist with a butterfly which alighted on her looks like a brooch
Live butterflies feeding on to syrup treated sponges
Curator and owner Humaida Jumalon communing with a butterfly
A section of the butterfly santuary
A butterfly settles on the tourist's hair sprayed with perfume.
Teresa and Justin enjoys having a butterfly on Teresa's hair
Perfect live butterfly specimen

Curator Jumalon with some of the large volumes of preserved butterfly specimens in the background