This Filipino proverb reflects the harshness that life can bring and how that people when cornered will do anything to get out of that situation. This rings with my informant’s upbringing she and her family were raised in the lower-middle class of Tondo, Philippines, where people were more opportunistic and are willing to do anything to survive. My informant got this saying from her mother, who had to raise six children by herself and also work to feed them. My informant and her siblings also had to spend their childhoods helping her in order to keep the family income.
To me, the proverb reflects a harsh and distrustful upbringing where people can turn on each other fast when situations become worse. I feel that this proverb is not unique to her family however because of all the people who may also encounter this similar situation and it is more like a general proverb for life.