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Everyone Remembers Mariquit - Hair Stylist Par Excellence

This article is a condensation of two blog posts on El Talonggo

May 2, 2021 - In the age of COVID-19 and community quarantines, most people are forced to grow long hair due to the lack of open salons and because of people's choice to avoid contact with too many strangers.  The lack of services for hair care makes us yearn for the people who do our hair really well.

We are reminded that way back in the 1970s and early 1980s in Bacolod City, there was an artist to whom Bacoleños entrusted their crowning glory.

I am referring to a hair artist who goes by the name of Mariquita Palacios Estrada.  Yes, Mariquit of the legendary "Mariquit and the Hair People" along 6th Street, Bacolod City.

At a time when salons were best known as parlors, Mariquit cut, trimmed, and curled the precious locks of the Doñas of Negros.  Not far behind her well heeled clientele were their teenage girls who sported the latest fad hair to match early 80s fashion.

Hairstyles from the 1980s

Prior to Mariquit and the Hair People, Mariquit was cutting at La Moda.  If anyone wanted the latest scoop on the ailing sugar industry and how it affected the social lives of Negrense women, the parlor was where one could get the weekly update.  But that's beside the point of this story.

Mariquit and the Hair People seemed to set the standard of what a parlor should be at those times.  It was at the cusp of the transition period where Negrenses were letting go of the old concept of a parlor to the newfangled term where the personal care station would be known as THE salon.

Every other salon which followed after seemed to have drawn inspiration from "Mariquit and the Hair People", where there was one central figure who wielded the creativity and sense of style, and the understudies drawing their abilities from her.  Soon enough, the understudies would form have their own shops still in "Hair People fashion".

Not one to stand in the way of other people's progress, Mariquit saw the emergence of other talents.  Some of you who are reading this remember Cita, others remember Mila.  Thereafter salon names started emerging with spunk.  There was Attitude, Indulgence, and now, the longest running salon in Sugarlandia perhaps, Virtu.

Mariquit did not do Joey Albert's hair but this is
just to show 80s hairdos.

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.

One way or another, if you are an original from Bacolod, it's hard to avoid sitting in a chair for a haircut in any salon anywhere in the world without remembering that name, Mariquit.

This article is a condensation of two blog posts on El Talonggo

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