In 2014, I started an independent small press called Sawaga River Press. Please check out our site’s blog page for our latest news about our books and books-related events.

Sawaga River Press values diversity and equity in publishing, as well as the right to self-represent. We committed to publishing books that explore and celebrate children’s experience in the Filipino diaspora.  We aim to create diverse children’s books that bolster self-esteem and foster a sense of belongingness.  We publish children’s books that will encourage children to read and learn about their cultural and ancestral roots.



Set for release in the Fall of 2023, Mungan and Her Lola is Sawaga River Press’ highly anticipated third book project. Follow our Mungan publishing journey here:

Mungan and her Lola tells the story of the child Mungan who loves to make her Lola (grandma) smile. One day, Lola is inconsolably sad. Mungan and her family engage in Filipino rituals of care—cooking sabaw, performing hilot, and playing kulintang—to uncover the source of Lola’s sadness and find a way to bring back her smile.

This story is inspired by the Bukidnon epic which tells the story of Mungan, the Babaylan (Healer) of Bukidnon.

Mungan and her Lola is written in a mix of three languages: Binukid, Bisaya-Cebuano, and English.  It is also written in hay(na)ku, a distinctly Filipino form of poetry that covers diasporic themes.

Mungan and her Lola tackles big emotions and themes, including mental well-being, ancestral roots, and oral histories, role of storytelling in our collective healing


Sawaga River Press published its second multilingual book titled Jack & Agyu, in Fall 2019.  Jack & Agyu won the 2020 Best Children’s Book Gold Award from the Publishing Professionals Network and  the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association. For more info and to purchase, click here.

Jack & Agyu tells the story of an imaginative and adventurous young boy, Jack, who longs to find himself in the books that he reads. Crushed when he realizes he is different looking from all his favorite book characters, he goes off to right what he feels is a wrong. His path leads him to trouble but, also, to healing and empowerment as he reconnects with the stories of his ancestors from the Philippines.

Vibrantly illustrated by Lynnor Bontigao with characters based on Filipino mythology- the sirena (mermaid), syokoy (mermen), and diwata (fairies), to name a few- Jack & Agyu is sure to draw kids into an adventure that is exciting as much as it is self-affirming!

Jack & Agyu is written in English and includes a translation in Binukid, one of the indigenous languages in Bukidnon, a region in the south of the Philippines. The book also provides translations into Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, and Bisaya-Cebuano, one of the major languages in the Philippines. Additionally, the book features the Baybayin script, a Tagalog based ancient script.



Sawaga River Press published its first trilingual book, Mama, Mama, Do You Know What I Like?  in the Fall of 2017. For more info and to purchase, click here.

This fun and beautifully illustrated book provides a peek into the daily life of a Filipino-American five year old boy, Charlie, who goes on a picnic with his Mama and younger brother, Jack. During the picnic, Charlie tells about what he likes and likes to do, all of which most kids his age can relate to.

Written in three different languages– English, Bisaya (a Filipino language), and Filipino (the Filipino national language)– this book can also be a tool for Filipino or Bisaya speaking parent with which to share their mother tongue.

To check out this specific book’s site and to see our progress from the drawing board to publication, please follow the link:



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