By Zerylle Mae Lim
Each of our lives is comprised of a lot of experiences, but not all of them are well-etched in our memories. However, as fragments of these are recalled over the years, each memory is sometimes brought anew to us.
Louie Capistrano has been an Overseas Filipino Worker for twenty nine years now. He originates from Sariaya, Quezon Province, from what he describes as an underprivileged family of seven. His mother was a dressmaker and his father was a carpenter. He pursued his tertiary education in Luzonian University, Lucena City with a dream of someday becoming a fashion designer, but had to cease his studies due to lack of financial resources. Since his parents could not afford to send him to a fashion school, he eventually ended up taking on a job as a hairdresser. He recalls having wasted several of his early years due to poor decisions he made, as he describes himself as always having been stubborn towards his mother’s teachings.
He had himself involved in a toxic relationship for several years, had what he calls the “wrong” set of friends, and took on jobs which did not give him any sense of direction. Despite these, Louie holds no regrets in his heart as he now realizes that each good and bad experience has moulded him into becoming who he is today- the remarkable father and in general, the exemplary person who several people look up to.
Louie is married to Norady Capistrano, a BSC graduate major in Accounting. Just like her husband, Norady is also an OFW and has been for the last thirty years, working in a private firm and juggling this with a part-time job as a private tutor. They have two sons, who are both in the medical field- Denver, who is 26 years old, works as a nurse in Bahrain and Dave, who is 22 years old, works as a medical technologist. Together with his wife, Louie raised his sons through what he calls “suklay at gunting” (comb and scissors), which have been his tools to get by the modest job that successfully put them through years of schooling. According to Louie, the greatest fulfillment of being a father is to see them grow up into becoming God-fearing and well-mannered young men. He has always considered his family as the ultimate blessing, as his wife and sons give him a sense of purpose in life, which to him is that he would always love and be loved in return for the rest of his days.
Each good and bad experience has moulded him into becoming who he is today – the exemplary person who several people look up to.
Even as a hairdresser and stylist, Louie never lost interest in fashion. After all, he grew up watching his mother as a dressmaker, and he always found it magical how she would turn simple fabric into a beautiful dress. Determined to push through with his childhood dream of becoming a fashion-stylist, Louie decided he could materialize this, even just as a hobby. He discovered his creativity in fashion when he first joined a “Recycled Gown Competition” and brought home the bacon. He soon realized after participating in other similar competitions and garnering much praises, awards and recognition, that the creation of couture fashion sculptures from trash is his forte.
Despite being time-consumed by his salon business, Louie still finds the time to read a lot whenever he is off-work. He quotes, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, while a man who never reads lives only once”. Also, writing is a worthwhile hobby he has, to develop and help him record his thoughts, which in turn contributes to his effectivity at work.
One of Louie’s purposes in being an entrepreneur is to provide work opportunities to other OFWs in the island and to others in the Philippines who are unable to find the means there to provide their families’ needs, which goes to show his passion in reaching out to those who are less fortunate. Louie Men’s Salon and Spa has been succe ssful in its operations for five years now.
Although there were bumps along the way, he managed to get past all the rocky moments with its ups and downs and he never fails to give credit to his loyal customers who have contributed to his journey by patronizing the salon’s services and products.
Louie Men’s Salon and Spa is the ultimate expression of a small-town character with contemporary services rendered by expert hairstylists and professional massage therapists in Bahrain, who are all dedicated to a holistic approach in providing services by means of more advanced technique. To this day, Louie’s employees continue to grace each client with a warm welcome and friendly smile. He takes so much pride in his knowledgeable, savvy and well-experienced employees who have worked very hard to accomplish what the salon has become today.
After nearly three decades and being one of the pioneer hairdressers here in the island, Louie says that Bahrain has helped redefine him both as a person and as a forerunner of what he does in this field. Everyone dear to him is aware that he has already attained great success, which he humbly says is mainly a result of simply having “dipped his toes in the water”. Plenty of hard work has got him in the position where he is now and it would be unfair to suggest that he does not deserve his time of success, as here is a following of Louie’s achievements and/or awards:
- HBCG (Hairdresser Barber Cosmetologist Guild) President 2002-2004,
- Conducted several seminars for professional and non-professional hairdressers,
- Spearheaded successful workshops, training and Hair and Makeup competitions,
- Filipino Club Executive Committee 2002-2004,
- Filipino club events organizer for Beauty Pageants- Miss Philippines Bahrain, Little Miss Philippines, Wonderful Mum, Mr. Pogi, to name a few, and fashion shows, concerts, Octoberfest and Karaoke singing contest,
- Most outstanding Filipino Hairdresser (2003)
- H.A.I.R Guild (Hairdresser Artist International Reliance Guild) – Founder/administrator/adviser since 2014 up to the present,
- Conducted Skills Training on Hair Science and Cosmetologist for the ward “OFW distressed workers” at the shelter located at The Philippines Embassy, Kingdom of Bahrain,
- Occasionally giving free Hair Care Services in Home for the aged (local) at Muharraq Social Welfare,
- Entrepreneur- owner and manager of Louie Men’s Salon and Spa.
With the aforementioned achievements of Louie, his short-term plans now is to tour Europe as a self-reward for years of hard work, and ultimately, take his family to various beautiful places in the world.
Louie wishes to share to readers, “The most important lesson I learned is that you won’t ever achieve change before you accept that you are in control of your actions. Your experience at work is reflected back to you, based on your work habits. Be willing to do away with negative, dysfunctional and toxic habits that do not serve you any longer so that you can COMMAND the respect, appreciation and good treatment that you deserve. As you do this, work becomes a place where you feel POWERFUL, despite the negative entities that surround you. No matter how competitive and egotistical the environment may be, always maintain harmony in your workplace. One of the secrets of success is exchanging ideas and working hand-in-hand with others. If you look at successful businesses, they are built on the principle of constant learning, always being open to knowing more, understanding what has worked and what has not worked for others”.