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Haircuts in the Philippines


In America, as a child I would be taken to a barber. You would get a booster seat and be scared as some big stranger attacked you with a pair of scissors. I do not remember when it changed but eventually stylist shops opened and you would have a pretty lady lean over you as she washed, cut and styled your hair.

Here in Davao, when I first needed a haircut, off we went to Gaisano Mall and I walked into Rocky’s Barber shop. It is a bright lighted place with six barber’s chairs. I was asked to sit by a nice Filipino barber named Mike.

I explained how I wanted my hair cut and that I preferred scissors rather than electric clippers. He did a perfect job and then came something I did not expect. Here besides a haircut, part of the service is a head and back massage. I was uncomfortable at first, but with his expert hands, I relaxed to the point of enjoying the service. The fee there is 120 pesos (approx $2.53 USD) and the barber gets 30 pesos (approx $0.63). I would give him a 50 peso tip.

Well about every month or two, it is time for another haircut and off to Rocky’s I would go. Each time I would go, I would request Mike. He never forgot my name or how I wanted my hair cut. Also the massage would get longer and cover more area. The first time was temples, head and next, then the whole back. It eventually increased to arms and fingers too.

One day he asked where I lived. When I told him, he mentioned owned a little two seat barbershop just down the road from my house. I also learned he was off from the mall on Thursdays and he worked at his shop. So, I then would wait to a Thursday when I needed my haircut. There, he would do his usual great haircut and then got onto the massage. I would tell others it took 10 minutes to cut my hair and a half hour to give me a massage. In his shop a haircut is only 25 pesos. I would continue to give him 120 to 150 pesos. I felt I would pay the same in the mall, and here in his shop I got a longer and better massage, so why not give him more profit.

One Thursday I went to the shop and the other barber was there. After waiting a while for him to finish with his customer, I was informed Mike was not there. When I finally found Mike in the Mall, he told me he sold the shop. As he was cutting my hair, he told me on his day off; if I needed a haircut he would come to my house. He owns a motorcycle too for his transportation.

Well last Thursday, I was at home working on my content writing and sent him a text that I needed a haircut. About 30 minutes later he arrived with his bag of the tools of his trade. We set up a chair in the living room and away he went with his scissors. He cuts my hair, trims my mustache, and trims the nose hair and ears. Then when he uses the straight razor to clean up he even shaves and shapes my mustache.

Then the massage started and I finally had to let him know he could stop. I watched the clock and he massaged my head, neck, back, arms and hands for almost 45 minutes. After he was finished and we were sitting having a glass of iced tea I asked Mike how much I owed him. The response was “whatever you feel like paying me.” I gave him the usual 150 pesos and he thanked me and off he went. It might be high, but I felt with such a great haircut, a fantastic massage and home service, I felt he deserved it.

If you are in Davao, and need a great barber to come to your home, email me and I will give you his cell number. Just remember, he is available on Thursdays only.

24 Responses to “Haircuts in the Philippines”

  1. david S. says:

    Facinating story Bruce. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Gene says:


    Your post just reminded me I need to get a haircut when this typhoon passes.
    I go to a small aircon shop by our public market here. Price of a haircut is just P30!

  3. johnray says:

    I also have my favorite barber here in roxas, palawan. Whenever I have an extra money, I usually give him a little tip. Glad to know that you are enjoying your haircut…

  4. Riza says:

    Actually, what you paid him for home service is just about enough, than the regular PHP25.00 from his shop. Here, a home service would cost you PHP250.00 and that is not even a “whatever you think you want to pay” 😀 Massages here can range from PHP199 to 500

    • Bruce says:

      I do not know about prices. Except for transportation, doing a home service business should be cheaper. No rent, commissions or overhead with owning a shop.

  5. Rick Levy says:

    There is a both a barbershop and a styling salon nearby here in Eastwood City. The former does a better job even though it charges much less.

    • Bruce says:

      I would guess it is the same as in the states; a barber cuts hair and a salon styles with more time spent and more fancy equipment. You pay for all the frills.

  6. Rick Levy says:

    BTW, Bruce, l’shana tovah.

  7. Alan Cline says:

    I stopped by for a cut at my usual spot and got the usual great job done . price had gone up to 30p but i always gave hime 50 anyway . But then i only get “mini-massage” because he has massage facility next door . 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Since I was first used to paying 120p in the mall, I felt since I get the same service and a longer massage, why not pay the same and let my barber earn more than he usually receives. Just curious, is the massage facility employees men or sexy young ladies? 😉

  8. Anthony says:

    Bruce, If you are adventurous try cutting it all off like me. For one it keeps the grey out and secondly it is much cooler on those HOT Davao days. I will bring you some clippers!

    • Bruce says:

      I do not have a rich colored scalp as you do and with head scars, me going bald like you would be scary. Also, I do not have much of a receding hairline and no “Friar” bald spot, so keeping my hair is fine.

  9. arnold says:

    I would like to have a hair cut in US since it will be a pretty ladies leaning on me. LOL

    Anyway i have added your blog to my

    Hope you enjoy Philippines.
    This blog is also an expat too. You will learn some tips from him since he stayed longer than you are.


  10. Tom Martin says:

    Bruce send me the barbers contact. I think I am going to give him a try next time. I had been meaning to do it and just kept putting it off. My barber is good, but often have to wait so long in the shop.

  11. Bruno says:

    Did he throw in a happy ending after the massage?

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