Life can teach you the hard way of learning and give you sweet victories.
Here’s what Dabawenya, 34, Khrista Francis Desesto, also known as Hyku Desesto, had to say as she recalled her journey leading up to her recognition today.
Born and raised in Davao City, Desesto is currently making waves in the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
De Sesto said that at a young age, she made decisions that led to some of the toughest moments of her life.
At 19, in her final semester at university, she dropped out, not because she had failed as a student, but because she thought she had the knack of surviving.
“Mao lagi ning usahay it enters your head na, ‘ah natun-an naman and what I’m doing sa gawas, murag dili na nako kailangan mag-school’ (Sometimes it enters your head. You have such thoughts’ I’ve known enough things, and I’ve been able to do certain things outside of school. I don’t need to go to school anymore.”) It was the hardest conversation my parents had with my professors at the time,” she said.
Desesto said she started earning money while she was still in school because she’s been in movies and other related shows. This led to her decision to drop out.
But in retrospect, DeSesto said she regrets not completing a degree in communications, despite having a good and successful career.
“For me, I have a little regret (regret), kay bitaw no, sayang diay, siguro (because it was a missed opportunity, but maybe) I didn’t have that discipline to get it done,” she said.
Desesto says she learned a lot in school — honing not only her skills, but other areas of life that will help her face the real world after graduation.
“Ang eskwela man gud (in school) you learn discipline, you also learn how to get along with other people and the best way to make friends online,” she said.
After dropping out, she became pregnant. The experience allowed her to mature and see things from a different perspective.
“My son basically made me step up my life. I had a lot of things I wanted, but gubot (too messy). Then after having a son, that’s when everything had purpose and a reason to do things,” she says.
Desesto takes her responsibilities as a mother seriously, as she does not want to burden her family.
The young mother had to juggle raising children, working in the business process outsourcing industry and running a small pub.
“Now it’s my responsibility, although I’m grateful that they (parents) will help me raise the child, akoa naman gud ni (it’s my child), if dili nako kaya (if I can’t),” she said.
Although her parents encouraged her to continue her education after giving birth, she chose to continue working to support her child.
She also sought guidance from her parents when she became a mother.
Since he is based in Dubai, UAE, her father encouraged her to move to the Middle Eastern country to start a new chapter.
Desesto jumped at the chance to fly to Dubai, where she started working as a studio photographer.
A young Desesto worked his way up and eventually became the owner of Hyku D Photography and Videography, a creative studio specializing in photography and videography.
Her studio caters to the biggest names in fashion – Vogue Arabia, Farfetch, Burberry, Kenzo, Tag Heuer, Asics, Cadillac, Puma, Tory Burch, Max Mara, Jo Malone, Shopbop, Clinique, Paco Rabanne, Frederic Malle, ASOS, Virgin Radio, Adidas, Reebok, Guess and Dolce & Gabbana.
She has also collaborated with big names such as Steve Aoki, Example, Ludacris, Diddy, Cassie, Olivia Palermo, Bob Sinclair, David Myers, Chef Morimoto, Saif Ali khan, Christian Louboutin, Olivia Culpo, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria, Julio Iglesias, Mariah Kelly, Tom Jones, etc.
Desesto has also been commissioned and even featured in Netflix’s Ramadan Lady Boss event.
She has been featured in magazines such as Xpedition Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Health Magazine, Illustrado Magazine, and has become a celebrity in her chosen field as a prominent Filipino overseas.
As the business grew, she said, she was able to help a lot of people.
“I was able to help with jobs, and I was helping myself learn more about people and other cultures,” she said.
Desesto was recently recognized after receiving an Outstanding Young Person (TOYM) award in 2022. She was nominated by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Davaoeña Daba-Daba. TOYM, presented by JCI, is an annual national recognition for Filipinos aged 18 to 40 who have achieved notable achievement in their field or community.
De Sesto received the award in the categories of literature, culture and art.
Today, De Sesto says she is researching the possibility of completing her studies.
“It’s just a piece of paper, but that paper comes with knowledge and discipline,” she said.
A lot has happened to the 34-year-old mother and entrepreneur since dropping out of school. Her experiences make her understand life and use her skills, knowledge and income to help others. KSD