I’ve been contributing to various magazines for more than two years now, with my first article published in Good Housekeeping Philippines back in April 2008.
I’ve written countless features and stories, but none has inspired me more than the story of 16-year old Patrick Zaldarriaga. Patrick succumbed to bone cancer last June 12, 2010. When my editor asked me if I wanted to do the feature, I was at a bit apprehensive because agreeing would mean that I would have to interview Patrick’s parents face-to-face and I didn’t know if I could deal with that kind of grief up close. I mean, I know it must be very painful to lose a child, an only child at that but I can’t say that I know what they’re going through because I myself have never experienced a loss of that magnitude.
Fast-forward to the interview day. It was a stormy day, and traffic was bad since school got cancelled by noon. I arrived 30 minutes late. My photographer for the day was fellow blogger Cheftonio. We were met by Patrick’s parents, Peter and Kutchie Zaldarriaga. Kutchie happens to be one of the Philippines’ top wedding coordinators. They were very amicable and accommodating. They were well-prepared too, bringing out photos and videos of Patrick from his childhood days right down to the weeks before he died. It was very painful to see how such a healthy, happy boy deteriorated over the years while battling bone cancer. He underwent several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation… it was really too much to demand from someone so young.