By Gelyka Ruth R. Dumaraos
H&L columnist and contributing editor, and award-winning science journalist, Henrylito D. Tacio, received four additional awards for his exemplary journalism work in 2017.
Tacio is a highly acclaimed health and science writer for local and international publications, and is also a consultant for some United Nations publications. He has been a columnist and contributing editor of H&L since its maiden issue.
Based in Davao, Tacio has received over 30 journalism awards to date, and has been installed in the Hall of Fame of several award-giving bodies for having won their respective awards consistently for several years.
He received two Binhi awards from the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. in cooperation with the San Miguel Corporation last March 2017. The awards were for Agricultural Journalist of the Year (3rd place) and Environmental Journalist of the Year (3rd place).
In November, Tacio flew to Talisay City to receive the Sarihay given by the Foundation of Philippine Environment. The category was Best Print Special Report. The series tackled the issue of vanishing Philippine Eagle and waling-waling—both Philippine icons as bird and flower. The Sarihay Award was for his two-part series on “Saving Davao’s Endangered Species.” A special award was given to Tacio for his journalism career.
During the 50th anniversary celebration of Davao del Sur in June, he was also among the 12 special awardees from the province. He was given a special award for his work as a journalist.
Tacio is also a correspondent of the Asian edition of Reader’s Digest and a delegate to international conferences like the International AIDS Conference in Australia and South Africa and the International Coral Reef Symposium in the United States and Indonesia.
Advise to aspiring writers
A journalist from Bansalan, Davao del Sur, which is 75 km away from Davao City, Tacio says that distance is not a hindrance to pursue a writing career for those who are committed and passionate about it. He travels about two hours to go to Davao City, where he conducts some of his interviews with his resource persons. At times, he travels for more than an hour to go to Manila to attend or cover important meetings and events.
“This struggle has given me a challenge to do more than those who are in the field and near where the action is,” he says.
He advises budding writers that good writing starts with the right question.
“Good writing is not only about writing,” he says. “It also means asking the right questions. If there are certain issues, you have to ask a lot of questions in order to get the proper perspective of the issue or story. You get answers from the experts themselves, those who are affected, and from research.”
Tacio says that once you have all the answers, then writing will be much easier. He also puts emphasis on writing as a daily habit. “All you need to do is write every day,” he advises. “It is by constant practice and by writing daily that writing becomes easier and more thorough. When writing, try to write it as if it is your last feature or writeup.”
Aside from his regular column in H&L (Life’s Lessons), he writes additional feature articles on various subjects of interest to healthcare professionals and health advocates.