How I started writing about health

I’ve always considered taking care of our health as something that I should do, rather than something I should talk or write about.

I didn’t plan on becoming a health writer until I’ve accepted a job for a publishing company in 2012, more than six years ago now. I thought I will only be writing about lifestyle, fitness, food, and travel. Little did I know, I would also be writing about health and medical articles as part of my job, topics that I thought before were very complicated and boring.

My former editor-in-chief and publisher, Dr. Rafael Castillo, is a renowned cardiologist who has really high standards when it comes to his profession, including writing about health. He writes flawlessly, has a photographic memory, and can finish an article in just 30 minutes to an hour or two.

Dr. Rafael Castillo, my former editor-in-chief and publisher (Photo by Martin Punzalan)

And while I have a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, I didn’t have a medical background. Science was not even one of favorite subjects. So you can imagine my struggle to understand medical terms. It would take me a whole day or two – or even a week! – to finish an article about diabetes and other health concerns.

But thanks to Dr. Raffy, I became familiar with medical terms and writing technical articles through his endless mentoring and coaching. I can’t say I became good at it, but writing has just become easier as days went by. Still, I didn’t get to enjoy it the writing part – I just did it because it was part of my job.

Eventually, I put up a personal blog primarily as a repository for my published articles. I did not know back then that it would serve a purpose.

When a very good friend got sick with cancer, something urged me to write about her in my blog to help raise funds for her chemotherapy sessions (Read story, Help Yollie Fight Bone Cancer). I think the blog went very successful because she started getting donations from people who read about her story from my blog.

When she eventually died from bone metastasis after a year or two, I was devastated, but that didn’t stop me from writing another entry informing everyone about her death and how she battled with cancer.

After that story, I didn’t expect I will be writing about our family’s struggle when my niece got sick and eventually died after a two-year battle with encephalitis, pneumonia, and ovarian teratoma (Read story, Life Without Rianna). We received overwhelming moral and financial support during that period she was hospitalized and bedridden for two years.

I also wrote about a close family friend who is still presently suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome (Read story, Life with Myelodysplastic Syndrome). I heard she’s been getting a lot of donations because of that. I kept on writing stories about other people’s struggles and illnesses to help them.

I don’t really get anything from my articles other than their thank you’s and my minimal monthly honorarium from the newspaper company I am connected with, but it is to my personal satisfaction that somehow, I was able to promote awareness of their diseases, touch people’s lives through my stories, and help these patients and their families get cope with their struggles, especially in their finances – and there are my reasons why I continue writing their stories.

That I was able to put smiles on people’s faces as they read the stories I wrote about them in the newspaper is also something no money can buy.

Right now, I finally realized where God has been leading me into when He asked me to write about health more than six years ago. That’s how I started writing about health, and that is why I will keep on writing about it.

One of the perks of my job as a journalist is attending seminars and events about health and taking part of meaningful advocacies.


Second year anniversary of Health & Lifestyle (H&L) magazine where I used to work as the head of the editorial department and assistant editor. I’m standing at the left side of my former boss, Dr. Castillo (centermost, in green barong).  (Photo by Martin Punzalan)


Published by Mylene Orillo

Mylene Orillo is a contributing writer at My Pope Philippines. Prior to that, she contributed to the Health & Lifestyle magazine.  She's a former correspondent at The Manila Times; former editor-in-chief of TravelPlus magazine; and former assistant editor of Health & Lifestyle, Zen Health, and DiabetEASE magazines by FAME Publishing, Inc., a company owned by cardiologist Dr. Rafael Castillo who has given her the much-needed break and opportunity in the health industry and medical field.  Her previous job as a Media Consultant at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Writer-Researcher at the Headquarters Philippine Army ignited her passions for charity, volunteering, selfless service, and love of country. As a young girl, she loved reading her mom's collection of Mills & Boons pocketbooks, which started her passion to write romance stories.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Sto. Tomas in España, Manila. She is now working towards earning her master's degree hopefully this year. She loves traveling, long-distance running, reading romance and non-fiction books, watching Korean Drama series, feel-good rom coms, military movies, and documentaries during her spare time. Someday, she wants to meet Prince William and Pope Francis, settle down with the love of her life and have a family and kids of her own; and become a bestselling romance author.

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