Rommel Quemenales was only 11-years-old when a documentary was released about his life on the streets. His dad left him at an early age and his mom showed little interest in her many children. So, Rommel began begging and finding money in his own ways. But he wasn’t doing it alone. During his time on the streets, he met a homeless puppy, who quickly became his best friend.
Rommel named his dog Badji after his brother Adji who disappeared many years ago. Rommel takes Badji everywhere with him, and he takes care of the dog’s needs before his own. They’re the most heartwarming pair you’ll ever see!
Rommel and Badji are a Dynamic Duo
Rommel and Badji live in Quezon City in the Philippines. Front Row Publications shared a 25-minute video about the boy’s life back in 2015, which pulled at the heartstrings of viewers. Rommel showed the camera crew what his daily life looks like and how he and Badji survive on their own.
According to Rommel, his father left them in 2009. His dad fell in love with their nanny and never returned to his family. His mother is still around but doesn’t care that Rommel spends most of his time on the streets. Sometimes, Rommel stays with his older sister, who is at work more often than not. Most of the time, Badji is Rommel’s only real companion.
Rommel said that his little brother Adji got lost when they were younger and that Badji the dog reminds him of his brother. His mother says they looked around town for Adji at first but never called the police. According to his mom, their father said they shouldn’t worry about Adji. He said the boy would turn up one day, but Rommel still doesn’t know where he is.
“[Badji is] my playmate. I really do think of him as my brother,” said Rommel. “I even carry him as I did my brother.”
A Day in the Life of Rommel
Little Rommel spends most of his days begging for money. He goes around town, politely asking strangers for change. The boy collects and saves up as much money as he can, and he uses it to feed Badji, and then himself. He carries Badji with him most of the time, but when he sets the pup down, Badji always follows closely behind.
“I would be so lonely without you,” Rommel said to Badji.
Rommel also saved up money to get school supplies so he could further his education. Despite his age, he never made it past second grade. Luckily, many people stepped forward to help Rommel achieve his dream of finishing school. The local school allowed him to attend third grade as long as he kept himself clean and brought his own notebooks. Rommel was the only student without a school uniform, but he didn’t mind. He said it’s about the education, not the uniform.
When Rommel goes to school, he drops Badji off with his mom or older sister. His sister has two dogs of her own, named Putol and Cosmo. All his younger siblings still live with his mother. Rommel often visits both homes, where he can cook food for himself and Badji. But he said his mom never asks him to stay at home and instead wants the money he collects.
Obtaining His Life Goals
Rommel’s life isn’t easy, but he always makes the most of it. The kind people who have helped support Rommel and his dog have helped him get an education, which is a huge win in his eyes. He wants to go to school so he can help his siblings too.
“I’m happy because I’m going back to school. I’ll be able to help my siblings out if I finish my studies,” Rommel said. “[I wish] that we have our own house one day, so that people can’t treat us like doormats anymore.”
The video leaves off with Rommel attending school and making the most out of life, no matter how difficult things get. He says he’s not afraid of anything because he has Badji by his side.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any updates about Rommel and Badji since the video first aired. Hopefully, they’re doing better, and they’re still able to support each other during hard times.