By Deneb R. Batucan
Photos by Ruel Rosello
PHILIP S. has lived an excited life as a hairdresser. Not only has he perfected his craft with over two decades of transforming hair under his belt—Philip has made hair transformations across several continents.
Philip started working in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where he and his family moved from his hometown of Davao. It was during university, when he needed to find work for extra money, that he decided to work as a receptionist for a salon. His then boss, who he considers as his mentor, decided to train him as a hairdresser. He became his apprentice for two years.
“I never thought I would be doing it for my whole life. At first, it was just a means to an end to feed me on a daily basis. But because my training was so fun, anything I would see in a magazine, I would do it,” Philip shared. “So I would try to copy hairstyles and make my friends as my models. It was a lot of fun for me.”
After graduating from university with a degree in political science and art history, Philip wanted pay off his bills, so he continued working as a hairdresser. After a year of paying off his debts, he got tired of working and decided to travel.
That’s when he fell in love with traveling. He first went to Mexico and then several other countries in South America. To fund his passion, he looked for the easiest job he could do: hairdressing!
From then on, Philip traveled the world for 15 years while working at different hair salons. From South America to Canada to Amsterdam to China, Philip has seen any and all kinds of hair from different women.
“Because of my travels, I learned that in different countries, they do hair differently. So I became so obsessed with it. I really wanted to explore all these different facets of hairdressing. There is always a difference between trends. But generally, women are exactly the same,” he said with a laugh.
Today, Philip has finally settled down in his home country, the Philippines, saying that it was the first country he ever lived in for more than five years. Now he has his own salon in Cebu, Heritage Salon, which he acquired last April 1, 2017, as well as his very own apprentices, Bb. Boy and Becmar.
Heritage Salon prides itself for having reasonable prices for high-end hair styling. “It’s not all about the money. For me, it’s all about sustainability. And I made a promise to Bb. Boy and Becmar that I want them to eventually, hopefully, take over this place because I’m getting old. I want them to be sustainable,” Philip said.
If anyone knows Philip, they would certainly agree that his is lightyears away from being a one-trick pony. “Let’s say there’s five of you. You will never look the same. I guarantee that,” he said.
Philip also makes it a point to build rapport with his clients. He likes talking to them and making them feel at home and welcomed. “For me, this is my socialization. I feel like I went out for coffee with 10 clients, ten people today. That’s what I do what I do. It’s because of them,” he said.
With over two decades of his career, Philip says he is never bored with doing hair. “Every day is a surprise,” he said. “Let’s say I’m doing highlights. It could be just one little piece of highlight and I would see how beautiful it is and it excites me. You’ll always discover something new every time you do hair that you never thought would be there.”