At the tender age of 11, Rommel Quemenales found himself in an unfortunate situation – he was homeless. This was captured on film and it documented his daily struggles. With his father gone, and a mother who seemed indifferent towards her children, Rommel had to fend for himself. He resorted to begging and even used unconventional methods to earn money. It was during this difficult period that he stumbled upon a stray puppy who would become his constant companion. He named the puppy Badji, in honor of his missing brother Adji, and took great care of him. In fact, he cared for Badji better than he did for himself. Their bond is heartwarming and endearing, and is sure to touch the hearts of anyone who hears their story.
Meet Rommel and Badji, an incredible duo from Quezon City. Originally from the Philippines, this pair won over hearts in 2015 with a poignant 25-minute documentary by Front Row Publications. The film documents Rommel’s daily life as he and Badji navigate through their world together.
Unfortunately, Rommel has had to endure the pain of his father leaving his family back in 2009 after falling for their nanny. Although Rommel’s mother is still around, she doesn’t offer him much attention, often leaving him alone on the streets. While he sometimes stays with his older sister, who works long hours, it’s mainly Badji that keeps him company. Despite their adversity, Rommel and Badji prove to be an unstoppable alliance.
Rommel shared that his younger sibling, Adji, went missing during their childhood. What’s interesting is that their loyal pet dog, Badji, seems to bring back memories of Adji for Rommel. According to their mother, they initially searched the town for Adji, but did not involve the authorities. Their father assured them that Adji would return, so they stopped worrying. However, Rommel remains unaware of what happened to his brother.
Rommel considers Badji more than just a playmate; the little dog is like family to him. He treats Badji with utmost care and affection, carrying him around as if he were his own flesh and blood. On a typical day, Rommel asks for donations from strangers to feed both himself and Badji. The bond between the two is unbreakable, and Rommel emphasizes how much he cherishes his furry companion’s company. The mere idea of being apart from Badji terrifies him.
Rommel put in a lot of effort to save up money for school supplies, even though he only completed second grade due to his young age. However, he was fortunate enough to receive assistance from kind-hearted individuals and was able to fulfill his dream of continuing his education. Although he didn’t have a uniform, Rommel was grateful to attend the third grade as long as he remained clean and brought his own notebooks. During school hours, he would leave his beloved dog Badji with his mother or older sister and cook meals for himself and his furry friend during his visits. His mother, however, wanted him to earn money instead of staying at home. Despite these challenges, Rommel remained optimistic and determined to achieve his goals. Thanks to the generosity of those who cared about him, Rommel now has the opportunity to pursue his education, which he hopes will also benefit his siblings in the future.
Rommel cannot wait to return to school as it presents an opportunity for him to help his siblings. His dream is to provide a safe haven where he and his siblings can live without being exposed to any form of maltreatment. The video culminates with Rommel triumphantly attending school despite the obstacles he encountered, all thanks to his loyal friend Badji who stood by him. Although there is no fresh information on their advancements, we look forward to hearing about their continued victories as a united front. To watch the entire episode, click on the link provided.