The Beauty Salon

Antonio Patches was a lonely man.

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Each day, he would go to work in worn denim dungarees, carrying an assortment of tools in his old leather bag. And each night, he would trudge back home, dirty and smelly, covered in stains and reeking of grease and oil.

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He was a mechanic, a job he held close to ten years.

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Everyone in town trusted him with their cars, bicycles, even their appliances. Everyone knew that if there was anything wrong with anything mechanical, Antonio Patches was the one to call.

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The work was good.

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It was work that sustained his family’s needs and for that he was thankful. .

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Yet, it did not sustain his soul.

You see, all his life, Antonio had wanted to be a hairdresser.

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He loved hair. He knew how to cut, color, and style. Give him a mangy mane and he could tame the frizz out of it. He could do magic on hair. He could straighten it without defiance or coax the gentlest, softest curls from it. He had an amazing natural talent but he had never dared share it with anyone except his family.

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His wife, Dorothy, admired his wonderful talent. Antonio had been cutting and styling her hair for years, but it was a secret he demanded her to keep.

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Their kids, Bella and Bertie, knew haircuts were dad’s turf at home as a matter of rule but they thought all their friends’ dads probably did the same.

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For years, Dorothy had known that Antonio was unhappy in his job. He would rather fiddle with scissors and curling irons than wrenches and bolts. She knew he had been dreaming of quitting for a long time. But the thought of their mortgage, the kids’ education, and all their bills always stopped him from taking the leap and fulfilling his dream.

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On that last Friday of May, as Antonio headed to work, Dorothy Patches had other things on her mind. She had been planning a surprise for her husband for months and today was the day he would get it. She finished all her chores in a hurry. She was so excited she had butterflies in her stomach!

A little past noon, she bundled up the baby and quickly headed to an old building on Perth Path. beauty salon 08

“Hello, Dorothy!” she heard a familiar voice call out. Mayor Kittymama was already at the sidewalk, waiting, papers in hand

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“The workers finished up inside this morning and will be back at five to remove the window and door covers. Have you told Antonio yet?” the Mayor inquired.

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“Tonight’s the night, Kittymama. This is Antonio’s surprise gift! I’ve been saving for years for a cruise on our anniversary but when this came up in the market, suddenly, the cruise didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.” Dorothy answered.

“Well, congratulations, dear. Here are your licenses and the final papers from City Hall. Good luck to you and Antonio!” Kittymama bade Mrs. Patches goodbye.

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Clutching the deed of sale, Dorothy quickly headed home to change. She spotted the kids walking home from school and ran to catch up with them.

“Mommy, does Daddy know?” Bella asked.

“We’ll tell him together, Bella. You, me, Bertie, baby, ” Dorothy replied with a smile.

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A few minutes past six, they heard the front door open. They all ran to Antonio, still in his dirty dungarees and holding his work bag.

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“Daddy, Daddy, we have a surprise for you!” the kids cried in unison.

“A surprise?” Antonio looked at Dorothy, seemingly confused. “Why are you all dressed like that? Is it Halloween yet?”

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“We’ll answer your questions shortly, my dear. But first, we’ll cover your eyes and you have to obey everything we say. It won’t take long. We’ll be there soon.” Dorothy assured him.

“There? Where’s there? Where are we going? Why? What?” Antonio mumbled, a bit dazed.

“Oh, Dadee, it’s a supwise, silly,” Baby Bitty chuckled.

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His eyes covered, Antonio navigated the short distance with Dorothy and the kids’ help. When they stopped, Dorothy turned him around and took the blindfold off.

“Surpise!” they all shouted together.

Antonio looked at the building in front of him, speechless.

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He couldn’t believe his eyes. Before him stood a newly painted building with a sign that said “You can do it, Antonio Patches!”

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” What does this mean, honey? How can we afford this?” Antonio babbled on, confused. At the same time, he was also a little bit scared.

“Tomorrow, you are calling Mr. Underwood at the shop to give him notice. The rest of the hair supplies and equipment will come by Sunday. You can open as soon as you want, dear,” Dorothy said gently.

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“But our bills…” Antonio still couldn’t believe his eyes as Dorothy handed him the day’s latest paper.

“Since we will need two salaries until you get settled, I accepted the position of Dinner Lady at Bella’s and Bertie’s school. Here, look! That way, I can also monitor what they’re eating, while making sure all the kids get nutritious, filling food in school. You know how I always complain about the school lunches they used to serve…” she replied.

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“And Bitty? Who’ll take care of her?” he queried timidly.

“They have daycare at the school, and it’s free! C’mon, honey, look at the paper please!” Dorothy insisted.

“But you know the kids’ tuitions are so expensive. My salary’s barely enough to pay for school as it is,” he said.

“Daddy, we have swim scholarships! After we won in all of last year’s swim meets, the town council decided to sponsor us -school, training, and all- even our new uniforms! Isn’t it great?” By then, the kids were jumping up and down with glee.

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“You see, Antonio, we can make this happen. You’ve given up so much for us all these years. You deserve something really good in your life. Now it’s our turn to make your dreams come true,” his wife whispered in his ear.

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Antonio could barely contain the joy in his heart. After all these years, he will start living his dream. This gift meant everything to him, made even more meaningful by the sacrifice and hard work of those he loved more than his own life.

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And with that, Antonio Patches was a lonely man no more.


This has been a Kitty Little Lanes original story.
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Getting Ready for Christmas!

Fourteen days before Christmas and everyone’s getting ready for Christmas! Even if I didn’t get to finish my Sylvanian Nativity (which means it’s the first on my list for 2013), there were other ways to make Sylvanians ready for the Big Day. We’re still adding crafts as we go along, but a DIY wreath defeintely adds good cheer to a home!

SF DIY wreaths

The wreath is made from fallen foliage from an artificial tree that’s seen better days. Since the needles are attached to a wire base, shaping it into a circle is easy even without using long-nose pliers. Hot glue some balls from broken garland strings, add a ribbon in front and another to serve as a hanger, and you’re all set to go.

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Hang it on doors to announce your Christmas spirit. See how a festive wreath announces the glad tidings of the season outside the carry case house.

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While inside, Grandpa Rhys and Grandma Patricia try to make their home cozy for the season. Can you think of other miniature decorations for the holidays?

The Veggie Tale

Documenting my Sylvanian Families is sometimes more work than play, so I’ve thought of stories to help me as I set them up for the collection photos. It takes more time, of course, but it takes the tedium out of it! Today, we go green with

The Veggie Tale

(For little Banzai)

In the quaint little village of Kitty Little Lanes, Saturday mornings are not spent lazing around in bed or cozying up to a good book. Here, farmer Bob Blackberry rises up at dawn to deliver organic harvest straight from his farm to grocers and stores all over the village.

The sun bears down on him and his trusty steed. He has a long way to go before he can enjoy a Saturday afternoon with his family. He imagines his wife Betty making ice-cold fruit juice, fresh squeezed, and wishes he can finish his route sooner. He remembers that he promised the girls, Ingrid and Yvette, a boat ride and weekend camping, but for now, he needs to concentrate on the long distance ahead. He can’t let his clients down. They need his fresh vegetables and fruits to sell, as much as the people of Kitty Little Lanes need them to sustain their good health.

Clip clop. Clip clop. The sound of Blacksocks’ metal shoes hitting dirt and grass was a steady beat in the long drive.

“Oooohhhh, my back is killing me,” Farmer Bob groans as he stretches the muscles in his lower back.

Meanwhile, farther down the grassy road from Farmer Bob, Mr. John Sainsbury notes his dwindling supplies. Mr. John runs the tiny grocery/convenience store Sainsbury near the edge of town. His is the last store folks at Kitty Little Lanes will find before they head up to their woodland homes.

“I hope Bob arrives soon,” he says to himself. “Else, I’ll be out of things to sell.”

“A squash, a cantaloupe, two apples, two oranges, two lemons, two cucumbers, two carrots, two tomatoes, two bell peppers, and two measly bananas! Add the lone cabbage and the large radish from yesterday and my inventory won’t last three days!”

Well, his prayers are about to be answered for Farmer Bob’s cart is loaded with the best produce in the market- organic and all-natural, with prices one can’t beat!

Bushels of oranges and apples, crates of bananas, and all sorts of the yummiest fruits and vegetables are in Farmer Bob’s cart, waiting to be delivered and sold.

“Whoa, Blacksocks, whoa,” Farmer Bob says to his horse. Blacksocks halts obediently.

“Hello, Bob!” Mr. John says, relief evident in his voice.

“Hiya, John!” Farmer Bob answers. “Let me set up really fast”!

Farmer Bob lays out a table and brings out his best produce. He does this to all his clients so they can pick out what they want.

He brings down crates and bushels from the cart, working like an efficient machine.

And then, once settled, he reaches out to Mr. John with a firm handshake.

“Thanks for coming, Bob,” Mr. John says.

“Hey, you’re my best client!” Farmer Bob replies.

“Look at these russet potatoes! These are beauties!” Mr. John exclaims in delight.

“You might want these asparagus spears, John. They’re fresh and firm, great for roasting! And Betty roasts them with honey glazed bacon wrapped around them, like in Japanese restaurants…hmmm…. what do they call them there again?” Farmer Bob muses. “Asupara bacon maki! That’s it!” he shouts to himself.

“I’ll get some of these mushrooms too, Bob,” Mr. John says, taking a big whiff of the mushroom. (Mr. John’s tip: Fresh mushrooms will not have a noticeable scent, FYI. If you smell your mushrooms, they’ve gone bad.)

“The bananas are on special today, John. Make sure to get some, I have lots! I’m bringing some to the bakery and the cake shop- banana cakes and breads are always bestsellers!”

After Mr. John makes his selections, Farmer Bob proceeds to pile them inside his friend’s shop. Mr. John goes to the counter to get some money to pay for his purchases.

“Where shall I put them, John?” Farmer Bob asks the grocer.

“Just right over there, Bob. I’ll unpack them myself later. I know you have other places to go to today,” Mr. John replies.

Mr. John then helps load the rest of Farmer Bob’s produce back in the cart. “As always, my friend, thank you for all these wonderful produce,” Mr. John says. “My clients will love them, I am sure of it!”

“I’ll be back Tuesday for your next selections. Got anything else you want from the farm?” Farmer Bob inquires.

“Just some of Betty’s best lemonade, please, if you can bring some. I have a hankering for those tasty drinks she makes,” Mr. John requests with a smile.

“Will do!” Farmer Bob says, as he goes up the cart again and takes the reins of Blacksocks.

“Godpseed, Bob!” Mr. John says, waving.

“Bye, John!”

“See you Tuesday!”

“You bet!”


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Farmer’s cart and Pony with Mr. Bob Blackberry

Sainsbury Shop with Mr. John Sainsbury

Special thanks to Panda (P-Angel) for the gift of the Sainsbury Shop. You are always thought of with love, my dear friend.

Happiness is…(x)

the pretty little things in life we love! 

And when I say pretty little things, I mean just that! Not only are they terribly little, they are also absolutely pretty! What am I talking about? What else, but Sylvanian Families ceramics!

I’ve been on the lookout for these miniatures since I started collecting Sylvanian Families 2009. In the beginning, I acquired ceramic bathtubs and toilets in such quick succession that it prompted me to do research on their history. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the toy line did not stop at  ceramic bathroom furnishings, but they also came out with miniature ceramic dishes, cups, and pots. They’re quite difficult to find locally, but I have managed to secure some from different sources, both local and international, over the last few years. They are some of the most prized possessions in my collection.

This china cabinet comes with five miniature ceramic plates. Released in 1985, this Victorian-inspired dish display unit belongs to the Japanese line.

This set of ceramic plates and kettles was released at the same time, and comes in a velvet-lined box. Although the box has seen better days, all of the ceramics are in mint condition.

Aside from these releases (and I am sure there are others I have yet to find), Sylvanian Families ceramics were also available in gashapons or capsule toys in 2006. Nowadays, these are quite hard to find and only available in eBay.

The ones in front came from a set of six gashaphons.

Then, add the lone plate or cup or kettle or pot I’ve collected thtough accidental finds in lots of old Sylvanians, and I have a nice little stash of ceramic collectibles already.

The details in these little ceramic dishes are so cute that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them. The designs appear to have been imprinted by some sort of metallic paint that resist chipping and fading at the edges. They are more likely to break than fade. When you consider the size of these things and what went into their production, you have to be amazed at the skill with which these were cast and made.

From plate

to cup

to saucer

and even a tea kettle,

each one is a wonderful piece of miniature art. They’re worthy additions to any miniature collection but most especially, to a Sylvanian Families collection. And though I don’t play with them as often as I do my plastic sets, I do love to look at them and pore over their designs.

You really can find happiness even in the littlest things. 🙂

Happy Sylvanian Day, folks!

Reform the Entertainment

For Ara Kaye Feliciano

I was introduced to the world of miniatures when I started collecting Sylvanian Families in 2009. It wasn’t easy finding them in the country and what few stores carried miniatures had them in limited quantities and different scales then. These days, with Re-Ment finally making its way into the local scene, miniature collecting has suddenly acquired a whole new different market.

My real introduction to Re-Ment came by way of my Hello Kitty Junkie friends. They were the ones who showed me these collectible plastic toys. As far as sets go, I have Hello Kitty x Re-Ment sets and one of Little Twin Stars. I’ve also purchased Little Sweets Cake Shop and Tsukiji Sushi Meguri food sets and of all the non-Sanrio rement sets, I find that these two fit the Sylvanian scale best.

I’ll show you pictures of what I have first, and then try to come up with scenes showing at least one set. That way, this’ll give you an idea of what sets work best for Sylvanians, Barbie dolls, or other miniatures. For sizing, you can refer to this recommended site as reference: Mini-sizer

Here are some of my Re-Ment collections in boxes still:

The Re-Ment x Hello Kitty Meals “Ouchi Gohan” (left) and Stationery Sets (right)

Bread Bakery (left) and I Love Cooking Set (right)

Sushi Restaurant (top) and Hannari Sweets Shop (bottom)

Little Twins Stars Welcome Party

Little Sweets Cake Shop and Tsukiji Sushi Meguri

As much as Re-Ment are such fun sets to collect and play with, not all of them work with the 1/16 to 1/18 scale of  Sylvanian Families products. Buying complete sets, unless you collect them separately from your Sylvanian Families collections, may give you odd pieces that may be too big for your critters.

I have samples here of how Re-Ment can fit (or not) in your Sylvanian dioramas. As you can see, the utensils here are a bit gargantuan for Freya. Even Mama Chocolate was a little taken aback at the size of her daughter’s fork, teehee!

The bottle is only a little oversized but if you consider how big 2L bottles are, then this would only be a little off scale.

Again, the spoon is almost half Kitty’s size and will probably not fit into her mouth. Oops, I forgot! Hello Kitty has no mouth! (How does she eat? By osmosis?)

Same problem with utensil and juice bottle. The plate is too big for one person so we can all pretend it’s a serving platter.

And who wouldn’t want a bento box as big as this? I know I didn’t complain when my mom sent me to school with above-average portions for my healthy appetite!

Ooh, I love this! The tea looks almost real. And I am a sucker for crepes, waffles, and pancakes, whatever this is.

Rather big portions for individual eating but it looks yummy!

Birthday cake! Birthday cake! I’d trade a fork for a shovel anytime for this cake. 🙂

Since I’ve unboxed them, I have to organize them in small organizer boxes (available at Saizen/Japan Home) to make clean-up easy. It’s easy to lose small bits and pieces too so organizing makes it easier to spot any missing pieces.

I don’t have pictures of all the Re-Ment x Hello Kitty sets that I have but I do hope to do more scenes with them in the future. The local stores do not carry HK Re-Ment sets yet but they do have a large assortment available in toy stores these days. It’ll be worth the time to do some research before you purchase some for your Sylvanian Families, but even if they don’t fit all the time, I’m sure you’ll have fun with them anyway.

For Re-Ment in the Philippines, please visit their Facebook page: Re-Ment Philippines. Right now, Re-Ment sets are on sale (10% off) until the end of the month so check them out!

Critter Fun (New Figure Additions)

I’ve been having so much fun making stuff up for the PH♥Sylvanian Families page that I thought to re-work some pictures of new figures I have. As you can see, I am getting a little better each day with Photoshop. My thanks to my first teacher, my sister Jasmine, for patiently guiding me through the different ways I can use Adobe Photoshop. Now, I am addicted to it, heehee! (Nerd alert!)

I’ll show you the original photos as they were meant to be shown first in this blog. And then, I’ll follow it up with the re-worked photo. I had a lot of fun doing this! I hope you enjoy it too!

Penguin Adoption

I got this gray penguin as a gift from a local seller. He isn’t a Sylvanian Families figure but he looked so cuddly that I could not resist him. I thought he’d make a great addition to the De Burg Penguin family.

Why, even Polar de Burg thinks so!



I acquired these frogs last week and I fell in love with them right away! For old figures, they were not so shoddy, just some minor fur loss in their heads which tells me they’ve been played with and loved. Their clothes were also complete, but were worn by different family members (sister was wearing the father’s shirt, Mama was wearing sister’s dress, Mama’s dress was in an old rabbit figure, and brother’s overalls had stretched-out elastics that needed repair). I cleaned them, repaired their clothes, and now, they are as lovely as new!

Here in their lily pad, the Bullrush Family- Walter, Lydia, Algernon and Lily- finds a new home in Kitty Little Lanes.


The Vole Brothers

I got a second dentist set last week when the local toy stores re-stocked on the dentist. I wanted Spencer Clearwater to expand his practice and service the whole town without feeling stressed out. He needed more time with his wife and daughter too, not having had too many days off since they arrived in town. So, Spencer calls in his brother, the cool dude with the dark shades and the full head of blonde hair (guess where that came from!), to share the practice with him.

I can’t make up my mind on brother Vole’s name, though. Should it be Spike or Spicer? I like Spicer because it sounds closer to Spencer, but Spike is just as cute. And when he introduces himself to patients, he can always say, “Hi, I’m Dr. Spicer, the spicy Clearwater!” What do you think?

More figures coming in the following weeks so please stay tune! I hope you enjoyed my pictures today!

The Stowaway Sylvanian

I woke up that morning with a sudden start. Something- perhaps it was the sound of A♥ moving around the room or maybe the feelings of apprehension at the pit of my stomach- stirred me. I looked at the clock on the table. It wasn’t even six yet. A♥ was leaving that morning for a work trip and I didn’t want him to go.

A♥ went inside the room, dressed and ready to go. I hugged him as tight as I could and kissed him goodbye. It would be three days before I see him again. The fear in my belly was overwhelming. I really hate goodbyes.

A♥ insisted I go back to bed. He kissed me one more time as I closed my eyes. He would not see me cry, I promised myself. Seconds later, as the sound of his car gave way to the stillness of that early morning, I would start sobbing into the sheets, muffling my cries with balled-up fists. I started praying and before I knew it, I had fallen back to sleep.

The sun was up when my eyes opened for the second time that morning. The feelings of uneasiness were still there. I shivered in the cold of the room and I pulled up the sheets to my chin. A piece of paper floated off the bed, gracefully gliding down the floor.


I reached for the paper and read it. It was a letter.

A letter from a Stowaway Sylvanian.

By the time A♥ found Buster hiding inside his carry-on bag, they were already at the airport. It was too late to turn around and bring Buster back home so A♥ took Buster with him. Good thing he was small enough not to warrant his own ticket!

Buster sent me photos of his time with A♥. I’ll let him tell you his story from here on.

Hello, friends! My name is Buster and I am the Stowaway Sylvanian. I wasn’t really planning on doing this at first. Whem Rumpus (Macavity) and I talked last, he wanted to be the one to go with Papa A♥. I guess he chickened out in the end because he didn’t show up at all! Rumpus is a chicken! Rumpus is a chicken! Nyanyanyanya!

Oh, where was I? Well, Mama had been dreading Papa’s trip for weeks. She was miserable, so what was I to do? I couldn’t bear hearing her cry at night so I thought, why not do what Rumpus suggested? I’m no chicken! I’m tough!

The night before Papa left, I wrote a letter. A BIG letter. It took me almost the whole night to write it because I had to write big enough for them to read and I usually write really small.

As in small.

The pen was heavy too. 😦

I set the camera to take my pictures as I posed with the letter I wrote. I wanted to make sure that Mama and Papa knew I did this of my own free will.


And then I checked on my provisions. I had some chips to last me till Papa finds me. I also brought Pookie along so I wouldn’t be scared of the dark, ehrm, so I have someone to talk to. Heehee.

Here is the letter I wrote. See the I Love You fold? Asparagus taught me that. She has a crush on T.S. Elliot Keats and she writes him notes with the ILY fold. *shudders*

P.S. I also want to be a Facebook star. Please… Heeheehee!

I am brave! I slid inside the envelope. It took an hour to lick that envelope shut. By the time I finished, I was all out of saliva and my tongue was raspy and dry. Whew!

One last peek before I closed the envelope…

I flipped myself over so the camera can take this shot of the envelope.

And then, I hopped all the way to Papa’s bag, sitting myself on top of some golf balls and spiky tees. I had to look for a soft spot (maybe some underwear!) to get comfortable.

Papa discovered me at the airport and let me out! Yay! He wasn’t angry at all! In fact, he laughed out loud and called Mama right away. Then he started whispering mushy things to her so I walked away, pretending not to hear. Parents can be so uncool. 😦

This is the Philippine Airlines flight that would take Papa and me all the way to Cagayan de Oro, the provincial capital of the province of Misamis Oriental. Cagayan de Oro lies along the northern coastline of Mindanao. I’ve never been there so I am excited!

This is my seat. The flight attendants found me so cute they gave me my own seat. 🙂 Papa said I could not have coffee so I asked for some water instead. Papa gave me his coconut-filled fudge bar.

After an hour and thirty minutes, we landed in the City of Golden Friendship! Wow! I am feeling a lot friendlier already!

We barely had time to rest before we were brought to the golf course! This was going to be a two-day tournament and I was going to caddy for Papa.

Papa held me up high as I surveyed the Pueblo de Oro golf course. I checked the place out for bunkers (sandpits for those of you who don’t now golf ) and other hazards. Papa will need my knowledge of physics to navigate this tough course.

I stayed longer to study the course and plot out a strategy. Fore!

And then, after last-minute instructions for Papa, I let him play golf. Here he is, teeing off.

I had my picture taken with Papa’s friends, Mr. D and Mr. K. I am easily the most handsome, I think.

At the end of the day, I was so tired from caddying I asked Papa to allow me go up to our room. At the Hotel Koresco, Papa and I were given a big room to share. I got a bed to myself. 🙂

And then I said good night to Papa and to the camera. Papa is safe with me, Mama. I promised you I will take good care of him and I did! He brushed his teeth and drank his vitamins. He even said good night prayers with me.

It was a long day, Mama! *Yawns* Good night!

Buster kept his promise. He watched over A♥ every second of their trip and reported back to me regularly. The next day, at the Del Monte Golf Club in Bukidnon, Buster sent me SMSs to keep me updated. Thank you, Buster! I appreciate all you did for Mama.

But don’t run away again, you hear me?