Background: Informant was born in the Philippines, on the island of Cebu, to a Filipino mom and a white dad. He sent his childhood in Yap, in Micronesia, but spent a lot of time in the Philippines as a child as well and is fluent in Cebuano, a Bisayan language and grew up playing games with his mother, who was born and raised in Cebu. The following is a children’s game that the informant played as a child, which was then passed down to me when I was a child. We spoke about this game over the phone.
Kan-on pulos budbud
Sud-an pulos utan
Seven-seven small fish
Rice all sticky rice cake
Viand all vegetable soup
Fiesta at the beach
Seven small fish
Rice for sticky rice cake
Main course for vegetable broth
Fiesta at the beach
Informant: Pito-pito means seven, and ubod is a small fish.
Kan-on is rice… ka-on is food, and kan-on is “that which you eat,” which also means food which is kind of silly, but it also refers to rice. Kan-on pulos budbud is “rice for sticky rice-cake.”
Sud-an, when you eat, you always have kan-on (the rise, the base), and sud-an is “the thing which you eat with your rice,” so sud-an could be anything. For example, teriyaki chicken or adobo is both sud-an with rice, which is the kan-on. There’s usually a connotation or implication that there is vegetables. But, sud-an pulos utan is “main course for vegetable broth or soup.”
All the phrases are silly and backwards, really… it doesn’t make sense grammatically. The second and third stanzas would be grammatically correct if they were flipped.
Budbud para kan-on
Utan para sud-an
Piesta’s kada gatan is a fiesta at the beach. Pista’s is really just the “filipinization” if you will of the Spanish word fiestas.
The whole thing is really just silly, but someone would hold out their hand and the other person would put their pointer finger in the center of the other person’s hand. The person with their hand outstretched would sing the lines as slowly or quickly as you want, you can play with the tempo on the first couple lines and then when the line “piesta’s kada gatan!” Is said, the person singing would close their hand while the second person tries to pull their finger away so their finger isn’t trapped.
Thoughts: I remember playing this game as a child, and this is the first I heard of the meaning behind it. I find it interesting that it’s all food-based lyrics, though it’s not entirely surprising as Filipino culture is centered so much around food, but it’s funny that even in a children’s game that’s fairly nonsensical with no relation between the lyrics and the actions, food still is still at the focal point.