Filipina Cartoonist Gets Wash. Post Gig

The Washington Post recently published an illustrated report about a group of Filipinos that went to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis to be put on display as part of an exhibit of United States expansionism.

It was drawn by Philippines native Ren Galeno.

Galeno was behind the evocative illustrations for the Washington Post’s “Searching for Maura,” an investigative series in an illustrated reporting form about the missing Filipino girl from Cordillera.

The story is about Maura, an 18-year-old Filipina who was taken to Saint Louis, Missouri for the World’s Fair in 1904.

DAVAO CITY – Every comic artist dreams to get their work published on the pages of notable publications.

But for a 27-year-old Davaoeña comics artist, getting an email from one of the most respected newspapers in the world was the least she expected.

Ren is featured in The Manila Bulletin about her Washington Post assignment.

She added that she had online meeting with the editors and then with the other members of the team involved in the investigative story.

Then she started working on the illustrations in April and eventually finished everything in June.

“They were incredible collaborators, I learned so much from this project. They were clear with their vision from the beginning,” she admitted.  “It was a great collaboration, and their passion for the investigation was infectious. It was my first time working with a writer and a team, and I’m really lucky I got to learn from them.”

The Searching for Maura was perhaps the first ever story of the Washington Post translated into Filipino.

Searching For Maura” is available for reading courtesy Comics DC.

Washington Post print subscribers will receive this story in the Aug. 20, 2023 edition of the newspaper.

“Searching for Maura”is a book available for purchase in English and Filipino. To order, go to

The Washington Post also reports on how they and Ren created the historical representation.

To help tell the story, we turned to Ren Galeno, an artist from Davao City in the Philippines, to create an illustrated narrative. This allowed us to share our reporting while being clear with readers about the questions we could not answer. We were able to visually reconstruct for our readers moments that were not heavily documented, including the lives of the Filipinos before they came to St. Louis and the trip Hrdlicka took to the city to collect brains for the Smithsonian.