The missing barbers of Matina


I noticed a fast turnout of my choice of barbers in the Matina neighborhood where I live starting second week of December. Barbers change shops almost too often.

I go to two barber shops in the area. In each shop is, of course, a “suki.” Since December, however, they changed turns in moving from shop x to shop y.

This month, the time has come. I did not see both of them in any of the area’s five barber shops.

It’s a problem for me who believes in the idea of keeping “suki” for convenience. You don’t have to tell the barber every cutting day how it will be done.

Suki just makes you sit comfortably, cuts the crap, talks about his favorite topics, and gives you the typical barbershop massage at the end of it.

You’ll understand why if you know the payment scheme. They have to take care of their clients so they will come back.

In barber shops, there is a 50-50 sharing of the fee, mostly at P30. The owner takes care of the shop’s upkeep while the barber pays for his needs such as powder, blade, alcohol, and shaving cream.

Barbers also appeal to you with their humanity.

If you enter a typical barber shop, you figure in the usual barber chatter. It’s an ambiance you could feel only in the barber shop. Its different in the beauty parlor or in that middle class mall barber shop.

You know it. They make some slight comments on almost everything on radio/TV as they also bond with their colleagues about down to earth issues. They also kid on anything or on jokes that their circles keep.

I’m not sure though, but I think there’s a particular psyche common to barbers.

Dhodz and Jun, my two barbers for the last two years are both married (or have families to be exact.) When i “joined the club” they rained me with unsolicited advices.

They also ask me about the issue of the day every time I sit on that execution chair.

They knew I was a reporter when they saw me on TV interviewing the mayor. They assume the role of a reporter by asking me the questions they could not understand from what they saw on TV.

And every time they discuss a local or a national issue, they make sure I will say my piece on it (Unfortunately, I’m there to snoop on their views, not superimpose mine).

One of them talked me into joining the Iglesia ni Cristo!

By the way, they also gave me story leads that helped me write a digestible story because they inputted their questions.

In fact, we also exchanged tips on choice numbers for the”last-two” or the “swer-tres”
lottery draw. They say its their small step to get lucky and evade poverty.

For their big dreams, they also hoped of coming back to school to finish a degree and get a better job.

To a certain extent, I realized I need to deal well with my barbers apart from giving a tip. Just like me, they dream and they toil for it.

So if you don’t find them one day, you’ll also wonder whatever happened.

Apart from you inconvenienced by a new pair of scissors, you’ll ask if they finally cut across a scheme to escape poverty.

Whether they found new barber shops in distant lands or they changed career paths, we’ll know, but that’s their deal.

As for me, I found myself scouting for a new barber before posting this (7:30 p.m.!). Moving on.

I tell you, trial and error is not easy. But I have to “not need a hair cut”. So I’ve got to risk it. Wish me luck.


About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

2 responses to “The missing barbers of Matina”

  1. AYEZA says :

    When we went home last December 2006 my Dad went to look for Mang Titing his barber for years before we mingated here. We even called his barber stand ( which is just outside his house) “McDo” short for mag duko duko hehehe

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