Feature: The Gentle Art of Butterflies

Julian Jumalon (1909–2000), a renowned Cebuano artist and avid butterfly collector, set up this sanctuary at his home west of downtown. His knowledge was all acquired through his observations during expeditions into the forests to study butterflies, rather than any formal scientific training (he is credited for discovering many new Philippine butterfly species and won countless awards in the field of biology).

The most interesting reason to visit the sanctuary is for the attached small art gallery displaying Jumalon's lepido-mosaic works – artworks made entirely from damaged butterfly wings that he collected from lepidopterologists around the world. Jumalon's original watercolour paintings are shown side-by-side with the lepido-mosaic versions, which are superb.

At the outbreak of WWII, Jumalon was commissioned by the Philippine government to design emergency currency notes; these notes are now considered collectors' items and can be seen on display at Museo Sugbo.

The sanctuary itself is a must for butterfly lovers, and is now run by his equally passionate children, who provide an informative tour of the garden, including the living display of the life cycle of the butterfly and Jumalon's exhaustive collection of butterflies and moths in the main room.