Student life may be difficult for those who have less in life materially, but such was not the case for Camille “Cams” De Pedro, who knew how to acknowledge and embrace her limitations, grow independently, and love herself.
Camille came from Batasan Hills National High School, one of the most populated high schools in the country, under the Engineering and Science Education Program (ESEP) of the Department of Science and Technology. “I was your average-type student––alive and barely breathing, given the advanced subjects in sciences and math. Invisible ako pagdating sa academics, may silbi lang ako kapag mga art classes and projects na – theatre, music, sports, speech, choir, creative presentations, etc. Sabi ko nun, mukhang mali ako ng pinasukan kasi ang tatalino ng mga kaklase ko, samantalang ako, joker lang,” she says.
Under the ESEP, students were expected to take up Science and Math programs such as medicine, engineering, and accountancy–courses considered to lead graduates to high-paying jobs, and which she earlier thought of pursuing to help her parents. “My dad is a taxi driver, while my mama is a plain housewife,” she shares.
When she got accepted at La Salle under the AB Communications Arts program, she felt that the universe led her to a program which she was more passionate about. “I got one of the best scholarships in the Philippines–the Vaugirard scholarship which covers 100% tuition and fee,” she points out. With additional stipend, accommodation and food allowance, she grabbed the opportunity to be part of the Lasallian community and started her journey to be in a career in the field of communications; her childhood dream was to be a radio disk jockey.
“I was always reminded by my parents never to be intimidated given our family’s financial status: ‘We may not have the material things but that doesn’t make you less as a person’,” she recalls. In college, she found her strength from friends and peers who shared with her the same interests. At the Harlequin Theater Guild, she once portrayed the role of a radio DJ in the theater production “Pinatay si Mayor”. It became an eye opener for her future career. “It’s just amazing how life gives you what you want. Kahit di mo alam na gusto mo pala.” She cites the great influence of her professors in her career choice, citing Ms. Eva Salvador from her Radio Production (RadiPro) class as well as eminent scriptwriter, director, and author Dr. Clodualdo “Doy” Del Mundo, Jr., who served as her thesis adviser.
When she graduated in 2017, she landed her first job at an Australian company where she sold Software as a Service (SaaS) to prospective clients in the United States. It took two years before she would find herself at the Manila Broadcasting Company, going through a series of auditions and the final casting as she sought to be part of its DJ pool. It was a dream come true for her as she got onboard as DJ Radio Sienna for 90.7 Love Radio, but it was March 2020, and the lockdown happened!
During the pandemic, she had to make ends meet while working from home as a radio DJ and as a graphic designer. To reach a wider audience as DJ Robin Sienna, she joined Tiktok in 2021. “I was at my lowest during the pandemic and resorted to self-help books and other inspirational readings. So, why not share the information to my followers and listeners? The mental and emotional breakdowns, kinailangan ko sya pagdaanan. The pandemic may be my darkest moment, but it led me to my position right now.”
Now with 1.2M followers on Tiktok and a daily program at 90.7 Love Radio, Cams says: “I want my listeners to learn from me that they were transformed because of the talks I do online and on air. Yun ang tinuro sa akin ni La Salle. Hindi magtrabaho lang for the sake of working, but be a valuable member of society,” she says.
She adds: “La Salle taught me, transformed me, and touched my heart to do things with love and inspiration. These were my guiding principles in the job that I do as a radio DJ and content creator online.” Inspired by La Salle’s mission of touching hearts, teaching minds, and transforming lives, she shares that in college, she co-founded Kislap Philippines, an NGO that gave advance classes in math and sciences, and summer programs to school-age children. Cams muses that she would like to bring back Kislap, or a similar organization that will cater to students, once she is financially stable. “I really want to have an organization; it’s my way of giving back.”
Today, she notes how she has gotten to be in her current position because she has always been trying to do things that are uncomfortable for her. “It pushes me to be better, to go out of my comfort zone.” At 26, she still thinks of her family, providing them extra surprises, such as an upcoming trip to Coron, Palawan. “This will be the first time that we will have a vacation as a family.”
“I can see myself as a DJ for the rest of my life. I love what I do and alam alam ko na fulfilled ako .. na may tao akong natutulungan, naliliwanagan at natutuwa dahil sa mga sinasabi ko.” I always tell the people around me to keep going. Money is something, but it’s not everything. ‘Wag mong hayaan na ang mundo mo o ang desisyon mo ay umikot sa pera lang. Keep going .. keep being inspired. Andyan lagi ang problema, pero dadaan lang yan.”
If you wish to take part in our mission of making quality, Christian education accessible to all contact us at [email protected]