Buntot mo hila mo

Translation: It’s your fault, bear the consequences.


This Filipino proverb came from the harsh upbringing of my informant’s family as her mom was raised in the lower-middle class near Tondo in the Philippines. It was something that my informant’s mom used to say a lot while she was working several jobs while raising her six children. As a result, my informant didn’t have a regular childhood and she spent most of it helping out her mom. Since she was the youngest in her family, she had help from her older siblings, but they also had to tend to their studies as well. My informant had to learn all her lessons the hard way and suffering its consequences, so this saying had tremendous impact on her life.

The proverb, to me, thus also reflects the harshness that life gives people. It reflects the brutality of the sort of lifestyle under which my informant grew up in and had to endure until she matured and acquired a stable job. Even then, the saying also reflects on the simplicity of life in how there is no avoidance of responsibility, and it instills a simple moral which some people wouldn’t want to face.