AURORA, IL — 45-year-old Paul Balan, a native of Paete, Laguna is the first Filipino and first Asian US coin designer.
Balan designed the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the reverse of the newly-released quarter. The 41st quarter is part of US Mint’s “America The Beautiful Quarters Program,” which was launched in 2010.
It is the first of the five unique 25-cent designs for 2018.
Paul says he has always been fascinated by the beauty of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan and was extremely happy when his design was selected.
“The soft stones were intricately carved by nature and that’s amazing. I was thrilled and honored. As a Filipino American, that is my first circulated coin.”
Paul’s designs have been selected for commemorative coins and congressional medals since 2010. Earlier this month, in Michigan, almost a thousand people witnessed the release of his newest work.
Paul stresses the importance of two things: knowing where you came from and being a man of action.
“Inspiration ko ang family ko, at kung saan ako nanggaling, kung saan ako nagmula, ‘yun ang nagpapalakas sa akin to continue to pursue my dreams. Hindi pwedeng nangangarap lang tayo eh. Kailangan, may gawa. Kasi one day, all your efforts, all your hard work, will be crowned with success.
And he has this advice for young artists who aspire to be successful like him.
“Maraming destructive criticisms din, maraming hindi naniniwala sa akin, but the most important thing is… gawin mo ‘yung the best mo, trabahuhin mo kung saan ka magaling, pagbutihan mo, at mararating mo kung ano man ang gusto mong marating.”
The US Mint will be producing a total of 433 million Pictured Rocks quarters.
The Program aims to celebrate a total of 56 national parks and other sites through 2021.