This is one of those children’s rhymes we used to play in the neighborhood, you may say 40 years back. The complete rhyme sounds like this: “Kay-kay may manok akong bukay, ging dala sa Borakay, nagda-og piro patay” delivered in a marching tempo.
Indeed a chorus of boys and girls alike trying to outdo one another in pitch and loudness. One would even run away from the group and rendered solo in crescendo trying to stand-out in the crowd, “Kay-kay may manok akong bukay…” in enslaving repetition until a gasp for air refrained him from saying “Kay-kay..” again. I wonder what power these rhymes had that they can influence children’s behaviour. I am keen on saying about the kind of “last song syndrome” thing that stays in our mind up to a certain time. This tells me of the modern day “You can’t ride in my little red wagon” my teenaged daughters play with gusto, oh I cannot stand their yells reverberating within the confines of the “cute” apartments of HK.
In my early adult years as I was trying to recall about this “Kay-kay”, what could have been the object of attention to springboard to this phrase? Could somebody in his mature age who would have the passion on fighting cocks or better said “manugbulang” started after his rooster won but severely wounded and ultimately died fighting? Was he trying to ease the pain of losing a jewel even after a triumphant battle over another? Did his lips utter the words “Kay-kay may manok akong bukay..” to console his broken heart?
For how the transitions be of the consoling statement from the “manugbulang to nagahampang” is another journey of suppositions and conjectures. I would try to believe that he was a father to an attentive and observant son, that in his murmurs of consolation he was overheard by the little one, and voila, a rhyme struck in his young mind. He was in his playful mood with other boys when the rhyme was revisited and he began producing the marching verse. Oh, it all started there. Other children understood the line of words to be a consoling power even to the son, thus a chorus of sympathy drowned the lane where these children played.
How about the word “Kay-kay” itself, could that just be an invention to give justice to the line where the last word also ends in “kay” for “Borakay”? I would say 99% . And why should it be brought to Borakay, wasn’t there be any place for cockfighting in Looc? I would like to emphasize that “Borakay” during that time was not famous yet as it is now, it was just another sleepy island far away from the hustle and bustle of Kalibo or Odiongan towns, people went to the place to fish and the prestine white beaches were just added flavors to resting – after a long night of “pama-na” and “panlambat”. So why on earth Borakay was used? Presumably, it is the rooster as the link to Borakay, since the cockerel is white (bukay), it has literary value to equate its color with the place where fighting will occur, Borakay has white sands all over.
Now let us go to the wording used, for example, “piro”. This is “but” in English and “pero” in Tagalog. Let us not say the obvious that this rhyme originated in Looc, primarily a Visaya. Piro, but and pero are all one and the same. When you look inside out, Piro is Pero, but looking in from out, Piro is “abaw daw taga diin gid timo haw? Matan bala karan it, tig-a gid man tana ran hambalon no! “