Seven months since the Philippines enacted its first lockdown, the mirrors at Jolog’s Barbershop in Manila reflect the pain of the pandemic.
The salon has always been something of a microcosm of the country, drawing rich and poor clientele even amid military coups, typhoons, terrorist attacks and a People Power revolution. But the pandemic has changed all that. These days, the shop is nearly empty. The din of chatter has been silenced, and the few people who nervously trickle in are in no mood for small talk.
“It’s very hard to get my mind wrapped around this,” said Rollie Magalona, the salon’s owner. “It used to be that we always have customers lined up. Now, we try to stay open until evening, but the streets are already deserted. What is worse, we may also get infected. You never know.”
Since March, the Philippines has been in various stages of lockdown, the longest stretch of any country in Asia. The barbers at Jolog’s are required to wear yellow medical coveralls and face shields, and customers are told to disinfect before entering the shop. Churches in this largely Roman Catholic nation have reopened but are only allowed to accommodate 10% of their capacities. Customers entering shopping malls must first have their temperatures checked, and areas are marked to prevent clustering.
But even with restrictions in place, the country is struggling to control the outbreak. Already, about 27.3 million Filipinos have lost their jobs because of the resulting economic downturn.
Tap the link in our bio to read more about life under lockdown in Manila. Photos by @jeszmann