Introducing Our New Book and Illustrator

Hello, Friends,

We hope your April is off to a good start!

We are super excited to announce our second book, tentatively titled “Jack Meets Agio.” This story is inspired by the oral folk literature of my hometown, Bukidnon. (See below for map.) Specifically, it is inspired by the Olaging epic about the adventures of Agio (also known as Agyu or Aguio), the cultural hero of Bukidnon. It’s got dragons and wizards and flying ships and mermaids… and a sensitive brown Filipino-American boy, Jack, who wishes to belong. We say this is going to be one heck of a book!

As an aside, for those who are not very familiar with Bukidnon, here is a map of the Philippines that shows where Bukidnon is located. I grew up in Bukidnon. It’s an amazing place.

Bukidnon map

Credit to Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) (English Wikipedia)

Additionally, after searching for months for the right illustrator, we finally found Ms. Lynnor Bontigao. She confesses to be an “avid doodler” and guacamole maker extraordinaire. Her illustrations will charm you like they did me. Check out her website at and you will see what I am talking about. We at Sawaga River Press feel so grateful and honored to be working with Lynnor!

(A shout-out here to Robert Liu Trujillo, Oakland based author and illustrator, for connecting us with Lynnor. Check out Robert’s work at

We will be sure to keep you posted of our progress now that we have officially begun Jack’s journey to meeting Agio!


Published by sawagariverpress

Exploring, celebrating, and sharing children's experiences in the Filipino diaspora through books and art.

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