I do not know Jose Aruego personally. I envy the PBBY originals since they had the luck and the opportunity to meet him, had dinner with him and had conversations with him on books, art and (I suppose) the future of Philippine Children's Literature.
I read his book, Juan and the Asuangs, when I was only a girl of eight. I was surprised at myself that I could read with ease this story about a Filipino boy in a Filipino barrio at a time when I was fed with stories of a cat in a stupid top hat, tales of brown hen and red foxes. At work, I never did go wrong recommending an Aruego book, written or illustrated by him, to a preschool teacher; a mother of toddlers; an adult reader who wants to rediscover the lost wonderment of childhood.
His works are all enjoyable, playful reads be it in text or in pictures. I retreat into a secure and familiar space when I read an Aruego. When I share his books to others, it is such a great joy!
Here's a link to the video of Lizard's Song, a read aloud I did for World Read Aloud Day last March 2012.
Thank you, Mr. Aruego! Give my regards to Mr. Sendak!
Picture source: http://www.amazon.com/Juan-asuangs-Philippine-ghosts-spirits/dp/images/B0006C5AXE