Aileen Avila is DJ Charlene of Pinas Music Zone.


DJ Charlene on fiercely going after one’s ambition no matter what it takes


DUBAI – What’s the secret to success in the UAE?

For Pinas Music Zone DJ Charlene, whose real name is Aileen Avila, you should “never, ever quit” no matter what life throws your way.

“It’s important to celebrate your failures as much as your successes. If you celebrate your failures really well, and if you get to the motto and say, ‘Uh oh, I failed. I tried. I was wrong in this’, then you learned something and then you realize you have no fear. And when your fear goes away, you can move the world,” Avila told

Avila’s nine-year stay in the UAE has thankfully been more about successes than failures. And she does move the world, connecting with Filipino expatriates in the UAE through online radio station Pinas Music Zone where she is the head DJ.

It was always Avila’s childhood dream to become a disc jockey, so when an opportunity presented itself in Dubai, she lunged at it. Her friend worked in a radio station in Dubai and asked her to submit a voice demo. She sent her audio clip and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hosting her online radio show takes up majority of Avila’s time, although she hosts events every chance she gets, the most recent of which was the Expat Duets competition organized and produced by Expat Media.

She has a lot of avid listeners on Pinas Music Zone, including a mystery fan who leaves her gifts every now and then. Is she flattered? Of course. Does she also find it creepy? A little bit.

“It’s nice to know people appreciate what I do, but I still find it mysterious how this person figured out my shoe size!” she said.

Avila shares her UAE story with

What brought you to the UAE?

I actually didn’t have any plans to come to the UAE since I was working in one of the radio stations back in the Philippines. My friend who happened to be in Dubai that time asked me if I can send a voice demo. By stroke of luck, I got picked!

Tell us about your involvement with Pinas Music Zone?

I act as head DJ of Pinas Music Zone and a decision-maker for the new batch of DJs, radio programming and the events and media partnerships.

How did you end up with Pinas Music Zone?

It’s a long story but to cut it short, the radio station I worked for previously closed down and the first online radio I worked with did not end up well.

I am so passionate in this field to the extent that I wanted to continue what I have started. I fiercely embrace the challenges of recent downfalls and wanted to reach and entertain people with my craft, OFWs in particular, who are longing for a local radio abroad.

Who are your followers in Pinas Music Zone?

Like I said, our platform is designed for OFWs who want to have a taste of local radio away from home. Our tagline and DJ names are taken from those of our bayanis (Filipino for heroes). It’s a Filipino online radio for Filipinos.

Have you always wanted to be a DJ?

Yes. Since childhood. Back in the Philippines, I’d drop by a radio station just to hear my name mentioned on air and I’d feel so happy when they’d greet me on air and play my requested song.

I auditioned as an FM radio jock but maybe it was not my time yet. They told me I was not qualified. That did not hinder me from going after my ambition. Coincidentally, I got hired by Magik, the same radio station I’d visit and hear my name mentioned on air and request for certain songs to be played.

What do you like about expat life in the UAE?

People. And it has always been. I love to see people with different cultures and backgrounds. Life lessons that I learned from them, I guess, is what I like the most – of course this is not limited to our kababayans stories, struggles and successes.

Is there anything you wish to improve with your life here?

All of us come here for the same reason. To provide a better future for our family back home. I want to secure them financially. My job status here would be one thing I want to improve on, in order for me to save and improve on it further when I return to Philippines.

What do you do to unwind?

I go to the beach. It’s relaxing to hear the waves and feel the breeze while dipping my feet in the water at the seashore. I love it when I’m alone. Also, dinner and movie dates with friends are great stress relievers. I like to watch horror movies. I am not into love stories.

What message do you have for your fellow Filipino expats in the UAE?

Life is too short to succumb to your failures. Pray, smile and enjoy it to the fullest.


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