We dropped by recently at the La Mirage unisex hair salon at the corner of 696 and Ryan Road, Warren to meet the owner, Neneng Fabiosa, and to have a much needed haircut.
It was a memorable visit for two reasons. One is that the haircut is excellent with the price comparatively cheap, and the other is that Neneng is good not only at trimming your hair but also at making small, entertaining talks.
Conversing with Neneng, a pure-blooded Batanguena with the unmistakable “ala e” accent still very much evident, made me feel as if I was transported to Balayan, Batangas, her hometown, where I used to spend my vacation when I was residing in nearby Cavite.[box type=”default” size=”large”] ‘I always give discount to my Filipino customers’ [/box]
She took pride of her being a native of Batangas, who can talk well pure Tagalog, which is often difficult to understand by non-Tagalogs.
When she commented that I badly needed a haircut, I told her, “sigue, gupitan mo nga ako.” As she was deftly cutting my hair, we talked about – what else? – Balayan, which is noted for its “lechon parade” held every June on the feast day of St. John the Baptist.
My mouth watered when she talked about Balayan’s “ginataang tulingan.” There was a time in the not-too-distant past when Balayan Bay was teeming with “tulingan” (mackerel).
Neneng, who migrated to Michigan in 1981, has been in the hair-saloon business for 19 years and has been operating her spacious La Mirage salon at its present location for 14 years now.
Asked if she is already mayaman (rich), she said that these days, her business is not as profitable as it used to be because of the economic downturn. She said, however, that at present on busy days, “you have to call us (telephone 586-758-7348) for an appointment so that you would not be waiting too long.”
She said, “I always give discount to my Filipino customers, especially the new ones.” Her price for regular haircut (for both men and women) is $14. To first-time customers, the price is $8.
She said that for perms cut, the regular price is $60. To new customers, the price is $45. Her other services include hair coloring and straightening.
Her prices, according to her, are comparable with the prices of the salons in Rochester, Birmingham and Somerset.
Neneng is married to Agustin Fabiosa who is related to former Crispa basketball player Bernard Fabiosa. They have two children – Jonathan, a graduate of journalism at Michigan University, and Jennifer, who is taking up medicine.
Shortly after I left, I promised to myself to bring soon the members of the Antonio family to La Mirage to have their haircut and to meet Neneng, the pride of Balayan in Michigan.