By Lauren V. Macaraeg

I met someone this summer during our Ilocos trip ❤️ He is handsome, blond, athletic, and more importantly, caring and concerned. He is a little furry but little things like that don’t matter in love ?

Toby and me at the Kingfisher beach! ❤️??

Meet Toby, the resident dog of Kingfisher Sand Sea Surf Resort in Pagudpud! ? I was touched because the friendly golden retriever accompanied me for hours while I was alone at the beach. My mom Uni calls him my boyfriend hahaha ?

Q: Who can swim best: Mama Uni, me or Toby? ? A: Toby, of course! ???

Read on for the highlights of my short but sweet love story with Toby the lifedog.


Our First Encounters with Toby

Toby the dog was actually the first one to welcome us to Kingfisher resort. However, it was very early in the morning when we arrived so I was too groggy to notice him properly. I thought he was cute, but it was not really love at first sight.

Toby, Kingfisher Resort’s one-dog welcoming committee! ?

I started to notice the doggie better later that day while I was singing randomly. Toby perked up at the sound of my voice, trotted towards me, and laid down next to my chair, with an expectant look on his face.

“Hey, he likes my singing!” I delightedly exclaimed in surprise.


Beach Bonding with Toby

I invited Toby and the other dogs to go with us to the beach. They didn’t seem interested to join us at first, but a few minutes after my mom and I settled down by the seashore, Toby followed us.

Mama Uni and me hanging out at the beach with Toby  ??❤️

After Mama Uni and I took some photos, I splashed around in the sparkling water while my mom rested under the tropical trees.

“Yay!” I cheered as Toby went into the water and started swimming. Later, he waded towards me, a white slipper in his mouth.

“Saan mo yan nakuha?” I chuckled. “Do you want to play catch?!”

I gently plucked the slipper away from his mouth and tossed it away from us. The dog immediately swam after the slipper and proudly gave it back to me.

“Good job!” I said. “One more time?”

I threw the slipper into the foaming water again. However, I underestimated my strength and the slipper landed farther than I expected it to.

“Uy! Ang layo ah,” my mom Uni commented from the shore.

“Sorry, Toby,” I called out to the golden dog as he paddled after the slipper (Don’t worry, it was still in the shallow part of the beach. I’m not that strong haha).

Toby swam back to me, but when I tried to get the rubber slipper from his mouth, he kept a firm grip on it with his teeth this time. “Ayaw mo nang maglaro?” I asked sheepishly as Toby waded back to shore.

I followed the dog out of the water. As I left wet footprints on the soft sand behind me, I watched him slip under the wooden floor of the gazebo, lie down out of my reach, with the slipper safely beside him.

Toby with his slipper ?

“Ay nagtampo yata!” I scratched my head.

“Magpapahinga muna daw siya,” my mom guessed.

But after resting for a while, Toby hung out with Mama Uni and me in the salty water again. We enjoyed watching him circling leisurely around us.

Later, my mom said she wanted to go back to our room and take a nap. She asked me if it was okay with me that I would be alone at the beach.

Actually, it was more than okay with me to be all alone on the beautiful, serene beach! I was positively thrilled at the thought of it. How many times do I have the chance to have a whole strip of beach all to myself? Kingfisher is a private resort so there really isn’t as much people there to begin with as in other places, but during that particular time, there was absolutely no one else on the beach except for us, perhaps because the sun was blazing (So thank You, Lord! I actually prayed for that since it was raining the day before ???).

But to put my mom at ease, I told her not to worry since I was not planning to swim in the deep part of the water like I used to do during my snorkeling days. I reassured her that I would just stay close to shore. Plus, I reminded her, Toby was with me.

“Samahan mo ako, Toby ha?” I teasingly told the dog. “O Mama, sabihan mo si Toby na samahan ako!”

And you know what? Even if I was just jesting, Toby actually did stay with me all those hours that I happily spent as the only human being on the Pagudpud beach!

Toby, ang matiyagang gentledog na nagbantay sa akin sa beach!  ?

Part of the time, the golden retriever just rested on the shore while gazing at the horizon. Part of the time, we just lazed around together in the water as the warm sun kissed my skin and shallow waves rocked me gently into a relaxed, half-asleep trance.

It. Was. Bliss.

Only me and Toby at the beach ? It’s almost like being on a private island for a while! ?

“Look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat?” I sang the Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World” song because I noticed that Toby liked music. “Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?”

Later in the afternoon, when the weather grew cooler, other guests started to trickle down the beach. I also noticed another retriever approach Toby and me. “Hi Roxy!” I called out to the frisky yellow dog, who could pass for Toby’s younger sister.

As Roxy waded into the water, Toby suddenly left me in a huff and went to sniff a couple lounging on the shore. “Nag-selos ba siya?” I wondered to myself as I patted Roxy’s wet fur. “O baka naman feeling niya di na siya kailangang mag-alala sa akin kasi hindi na ako mag-isa?”

But as the sun slowly started to set, I observed Toby going around the beach and greeting different people in his friendly doggie fashion. I realized that perhaps he wasn’t jealous (much).  Perhaps he is just a really sweet dog who wants all the guests to feel welcome.


Until Next Time, Toby!

“He is everybody’s dog,” said Tito Mon Manotok, the owner of Kingfisher resort, as he described Toby.

Enjoying a scrumptious seaside lunch with Mr. Mon Manotok, owner of Kingfisher resort, and Ms. Shai! ???

We were telling Tito Mon how much we liked Toby and he confirmed that the golden retriever was very friendly. We observed the dog in amusement as he did the rounds of greeting various guests in the resort restaurant.

Does it make me feel like my bond with Toby was not special? Not really. Because pet love is a love that I don’t mind sharing!

If you ever find yourself in Kingfisher, please take pictures of Toby and with Toby ? Or any of the 10 dogs in the resort, for that matter! They each have his or her own unique appearance and personality and we enjoyed meeting some of them: Roxy, Lady, T-rex, Ghost, etc.

During the morning that we left Kingfisher to go to Vigan, Toby whined at sleepyhead me because I failed to greet him as enthusiastically as I usually did even if he was sitting beside me for quite some time (I’m really not a morning person obviously!). “Sorry, Toby,” I apologized, rather amused at the sweet but matampuhin dog. “See you again next time!”

And here I am back in Manila, looking at our photos and videos together, just like someone who is nostalgic for her summer love. My mom teases me that I miss my boyfriend! And I don’t deny that I do ?

Thank you to my furry summer love, Toby! ??? And thank you for making this love story possible, Kingfisher Resort ? 

#MyFurryPagudpudSummerLoveStory #Toby #TobyTheDog #Dogs #Animals #AttackOfTheCute #Travel #KingfisherPH #KingfisherResort #Pagudpud #Summer #Beach #Ilocos #IlocosNorte #Philippines #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines #2017 #Friends #Family #MamaAndMe #LaurenAndMamu 05.2017

#LaurenMacTravels #LaurenMacScribbles #LaurenMacKulit #LaurenMacDoodles by #LaurenVMacaraeg

About the author

Lauren V. Macaraeg

Lauren V. Macaraeg is a children’s book author and freelance writer. Check out her official website at to learn more about Lauren and her book Sinemadyika.

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