It is surprising how a simple blogpost can open up a flood of memories.  Yesterday, I wrote about one of Bacolod's living legends, Mariquit Palacios Estrada.  In various Negros centric groups on Facebook, the reaction was the simple, "I remember Mariquit", and all the way to the emphatic, "Who doesn't remember Mariquit?", and "Mariquit forever gid 'ko 'ya". 

Almost all would remember her - even the boys who had their hair cut by her.  At that time, the boys would only have their hair cut at the barbers, either in Shopping at Ton's or Modernized, or at the downtown area at the Esquire or The Blade.  The exception for the boys to have their hair cut at a parlor instead of the barber was only because Mariquit was the one doing the cutting.

As mentioned in the previous blog post,
it's hard to avoid sitting in a chair for a haircut at any salon anywhere in the world without remembering that name, Mariquit.

But where did it all start? 
Mariquit was first hired at Susing's Beauty Parlor along Rizal Street.  Susing's was a parlor well known in the early 1960s and when Susing passed away, the husband approached Eves Ledesma's mom who lived across the street, offering the business.  Eves' mom had no knowledge about running a beauty parlor (old fashioned name for salon) but excited with the prospect of new business, she acquired the parlor and took a senior stylist as partner.  The business grew and stylists were sent to train in Manila to be competitive. Mariquit honed her craft along the way.  From there, she moved on with some stops along the way until finally having her own shop at 6th Street, known as Mariquit and The Hair People.

Fast forward to the 21st Century, The Hair People is a salon in the Los Angeles area.  Mariquit still has a good number of clients, "suki" as we call them back home.  These are the Bacolodnons who found their way in the US during the time when the sugar industry went sour and new prospects had to be explored.

A good number of Mariquit's "sukis" were once the little girls who tagged along with their mom to the 6th street parlor and had their hair done for the St. Scho prom at Sea Breeze Hotel.  They are now young lolas.

Mariquit has since retired and has sold The Hair People business in L.A.  She still cuts hair every now and then but only by personal appointment.  I am sure though that most Negrenses who still call on Mariquit do not see her for the haircut and styling alone.  They see her for the priceless feeling that while their hair is being cut and Mariquit is executing her art, they can just close their eyes and be transported immediately to that place we all love and treasure - Bacolod of the 1980s.

The writer, Lloyd Tronco, is from Bacolod.  He usually writes about Negrense culture.

Negros Island.  The SWEET Spot of the Philippines.

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