Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Boracay. April 28, 2004
She joined us a few minutes before the pizza arrived--short-legged and very, very massive. Her head alone was bigger than my thigh, hence a rather considerable size. She was squat and wide, and obviously a mommy. She was a yellow labrador, and she belonged to Cocomangas.

"Hey doggie!" my sisters called, and she ambled over without a fuss. After we all had patted her head, she bounded away, then quickly returned, plastic bottle--her beach find--in mouth. Her huge body was a mass of excitement, though she still managed to maintain her dignity. Not so for her pale yellow puppy, who was a bundle of uncontained exuberance.

She presented the bottle to me for a game of fetch. I threw the bottle a pathetic distance, and she trotted out to retrieve. Alexis (the waitress called her "Ah-lik-ses"), or Lexi as we began to call her, was an equal-opportunity dog. She gave the bottle to Ro and Rix in turn before wandering off for a dip and a game of bottle-tug with Puppy.

When we left Cocomangas, we playfully called Lexi to come with us. To our amazement, she lumbered along, keeping perfect pace, acting for all the world like she was our dog. We went in for a dip and she followed, her short-legged doggy paddle and her so-serious face kept us laughing (except when she accidentally clipped me with a gigantic paw, leaving scratches that turned into bruises the next day). When we walked back to Pearl, Lexi turned in back at Cocomangas.

The next day, at about the same time, Lexi came out of Cocomangas. We called and she came, loping along--from Cocomangas all the way past Station One, all the way to D'Mall. She went in and out the shops with us, sitting and waiting outside when she wasn't allowed in.

Rix and Ro gave her mineral water--she licked it out of cupped hands. At Red Coconut, she drank milk and ice from our scuba mask, then happily slurped whatever was leftover from our halo-halo glasses (I do hope they washed the glasses well!). She was with us back and forth on the beach till dinner at Caribo (home of the best sinigang and the island's biggest shakes). She sat beside Ro and beseechingly looked up at her. Ro 'accidentally' dropped food from her plate, but apparently, Ms. Alexis does not eat off the floor and had to be hand-fed.

Walking back to Pearl, we had to walk Lexi back into Cocomangas, otherwise she would have come with us all the way to Pearl. We all felt that Lexi loved our company best.

Three days later, we were at Station 2, in Jommel's at D'Mall (among all the shakes on the island, theirs was the most expensive--and nothing even spectacular about it) when a group of kids--the exotically brown and beautiful ones that you know have got to be from a mix of races--came in, followed by Lexi. Lexi came over when called, allowed her head to be patted, then quickly walked back to that group of little girls.

I suddenly didn't feel special. "At least she's loyal to whatever group she's with at the moment," said mom.

"Whose dog is this?" asked the waitress.

"Mine," said the most exotic of the girls (sitting at the restaurant table, with one leg drawn up, you could almost tell what her mother looked like). and Lexi happily sat down beside her, wagging her tail.

Oh well. At least Lexi was 'our' dog for a couple of days.

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