In 2015, photographer Maria Kabs released a touching 25-minute video that showcased the life of a boy and his furry friend. This heartwarming video deeply moved the viewers, and Kabs was inspired to capture their bond through her lens. Despite having very little to offer, the boy, Rommel, showered the puppy with unconditional love, which was all the little pooch needed.
Rommel Quemenales is a young boy living on the streets of Quezon City. He was abandoned by his father at an early age, and his mother showed little interest in her many children. To survive, Rommel had to resort to begging and finding money in his own ways. However, he was not alone in his struggles. While living on the streets, he made friends with a homeless puppy who quickly became his closest companion. Rommel named the puppy Badji after his missing brother Adji. Rommel takes care of Badji’s needs before his own and the two have become inseparable.
Recently, Kabs shared pictures of Rommel and Badji on Facebook, which garnered a lot of attention and support from many people. Although everyone wishes that Rommel could have a normal childhood, they are glad that he has a loyal friend to play with and keep him company. Rommel’s story is much sadder than most people realize. His father left the family to be with their nanny and never returned, leaving Rommel and his siblings to fend for themselves on the streets. His mother is still present but doesn’t seem to care about Rommel’s welfare. Sometimes, Rommel stays with his older sister, who is rarely home due to work commitments. Rommel dreams of going back to school and having friends his own age, but for now, Badji is his only real companion in life.
Rommel shared a heartwarming story about his lost younger brother, Adji, and how Badji the dog reminds him of him. According to Rommel’s mother, they searched for Adji around town but never reported to the police. Their father assured them that the boy would turn up one day, but unfortunately, Rommel still doesn’t know where his brother is. Rommel has found a true companion in Badji, whom he considers his playmate and brother, often carrying him around like he used to with his younger brother. To survive, Rommel spends most of his days politely asking strangers for change and saves every penny to buy food for Badji and himself. Wherever Rommel goes, Badji follows closely behind. In addition to feeding Badji and himself, Rommel also saved up money to buy school supplies to further his education.
Rommel faces several challenges in his life, but he never loses hope. Fortunately, he has received help from kind-hearted individuals who have enabled him to pursue an education, which he considers a significant victory. His desire to attend school is driven by his wish to support his siblings. Rommel derives great pleasure from teaching Badgi new tricks and snuggling with him at bedtime. Despite the difficulties he has encountered, Rommel has developed a sense of empathy towards others, which defines his compassionate nature. Badgi and Rommel share a special bond that brings them comfort and companionship. They both hope for a brighter future ahead.