Monday, September 12, 2011

Nangka-Nangka Questions Answered

galunggong or tamarung
After I posted the blog regarding Nangka-Nangka (a house of ill repute in our small town) in a closed Facebook group of my high school classmates, it was barraged with comments and answers. Within the first hour, there were already 88 comments.  So let me see if I can digest all this information in as little space as possible. Here are some information I gathered from my classmates in Facebook.
First, I was mistaken about the location. Famy said it was in the middle of Martirez St. in Upper San Raymundo district, and not past the Philippine Constabulary barracks which I thought. That immediately tells you how much I know or better still, don’t know about the place.
The second piece of information was that it was a house and in front of this house was a Nangka (jackfruit) tree, thus the name of the place.
Third, the women there were called Tamarungs, as Froebel reminded us. Well, Tamarung is a kind of cheap fish (galunggong in the Filipino language) which sometimes causes your tongue to itch. The correlation being, if you availed of the services of the women in Nangka-Nangka and you didn’t wear protection, you might develop an itch in your nether regions, or worse, a drip. Wait, maybe those two come hand in hand.
Here is a paraphrase of what Soraya told me. “I remember (in elementary school) when a group of 3 or 4 heavily made up girls with full red lipstick would walk in front of our house and the tricycle drivers would yell “tamarung!”. I asked my grandma why they were called tamarung and she said because they were bad girls from Nangka-Nangka. What is Nangka-Nangka and why is it called so? Because that place has a jackfruit tree on the pathway leading to the house.”
Fourth, per Famy, Nangka-Nangka has ceased to exist since the martial law days of the 70’s.
Several pieces of good information continued to come from Froebel who seems to be an expert on the subject, which brings us to number five. The tamarungs had competition in town! They were sea gypsies from the town of Pangutaran, who even preceded the tamarungs from the town of Jolo in that kind of business. Here is a direct quote from Froebel, “mostly boys back then went for the 'sea gypsies' rather than the girls in nangka-nangka. It’s because they are brunette..slim..young and they are very salty (sultry) :D” 
sea gypsies
Here’s more info from Soraya: the people of Jolo (called Tausugs), never bought tamarung fish because there were so many good variety of other fish to choose from the market, thus the tamarung were usually left to rot. Which I guess is what happened to your genital areas after you went to see the tamarung women.
And one last item from our prolific informant, Froebel. He says, “Back in the day (early 70's)...when I was in my teens, I hung out occasionally and sometimes on weekends at my uncle's house in Upper San Raymundo. Their house stood  right by the corner of the alley going to Nangka-Nangka and must have been 4 houses away from the nangka tree. There I listened to the legends, stories, gossips back in the day. According to the older people, when you visit Nangka-Nangka, you can negotiate with the tamarung about their prize range. With an older tamarung, you pay 10-15, sometimes 20 pesos. Younger ones will cost you double. But if you're short of cash, go there late at night (past 12 a.m.) and prizes can go down to 5 pesos guaranteed. Just like going to the movies (last full show), it’s cheap according to them. These tamarungs were local, pure-bred Tausug.” (*side note – at the time 4 pesos = 1 US dollar*)  Froebel adds, “When it gets slow in Nangka-Nangka, you can see the tamarungs heading West towards the docks. There they met with their no.1 rivals - the sea gypsies. Oh, talking about the sea gypsy girls, I remember a gypsy named Lily-Ann. she was a BO DEREK look-alike (from Bus-Bus district).If only she braided her hair like BO, it could have been her, only saltier!” 
(I wonder if there was some kind of Sharks and Jets feud between those two groups ala West Side Story…)
So there you go folks! Everything you’ve ever (or maybe never) wanted to know about Nangka-Nangka and its resident tamarungs.
Which brings us to the second part of this blog. We now know that Nangka-Nangka is defunct. My classmates and I were batting ideas around about restarting the business in our town. After all there was no competition to speak of. Prior to this, a couple of guys talked about hunting for buried Japanese treasure, but restarting Nangka-Nangka would be more feasible. This time we would plant a durian tree at the pathway and call the place, what else? Durian Durian of course! Please, you can look up durian on the internet yourself, can’t you? 
 Famy mentioned that this could be a very lucrative business because of the presence of U.S. Marines in the area (they are there to train local troops). Salma inquired as to who would like to volunteer to be the Mama San of the place, while Soraya said a feasibility study must be done first. I said we should name the place - Durian Durian: A Notre Dame Alumni Cooperative – brought to you by Batch ’73. It was suggested that Famy should have a large advertising banner placed in town. Business partners from our batch would have included nurses and health clinic workers (free condoms and AIDS tests!), doctors (free consultations and treatments for STD’s!), a banker, a dean of computer studies, a mental health worker (me!), and other venture capitalists.
Well everyone, it sounds like a plan so let’s get the ball rolling, get the show on the road, get it kickstarted, and get the men back on the Tamarung saddle!

*DISCLAIMER. Part two of this blogpost was not intended to be a serious discussion of starting a prostitution business. My classmates and I were only joking around with our posts on Facebook and we were all having fun with how the conversation went. Besides, if Mother Superior ever read what we talked about, she surely would have given each of us 10 slaps of the ruler on the palms of our hands if she didn’t get apoplexy first. Thanks for playing along.
I would never have been able to compile this information without the help of my partners in crime, whose expertise and knowledge of the subject matter, I’m eternally grateful for. Thanks to Froebel, Famy, Soraya, Ric, Jane, Leonie, the director, producer, screenwriter, makeup artist, waterboy, etc., etc., etc… But most of all, thanks to the Tamarungs of Nangka-Nangka for making this blogpost possible.

Public comments below, private comments: E-mail Me!


Abdel Jeffri Abdulla said...

Hi Noel. I am amazed with all your knowledge,real or imagined, about nangka-nangka. I may not be as keen as you and froebel are, when it comes to your observations of the women in that supposed red house. Our house stands exactly just in front of the place called nangka-nangka but all I can remember is the story about an american who engaged the services of a woman from nangka-nangka and while they were doing it, the woman asked for water, tubig! to which the GI replied "too small" :-)

I hardly saw women with bleached faces whenever I came home from school during our high school days. And perhaps some of the stories were just imagined considering our youthful minds then hahaha.

On another matter, I envy your running habit Noel. Much as I would like to run, I just couldn't anymore. I tore my menisci in tennis. I can't even do brisk walking. Surgery was advised but I'm still pondering on it. I hope I can go back to tennis. I know we have tennis players in our batch and hopefully we can organize a Class 73 sportfest. what do you think? :-)

Noel DLP said...

Hi Doc Jeffi, I posted questions about nangka nangka in one of our batch's now defunct FB pages and most of the info was supplied by Froebel, who amazed me because of his expansive knowledge of the subject. Like you, I cannot run anymore due to torn posterior tibialis tendons on both ankles. I am still able to walk briskly though. As far as tennis, well, my last experience with that was with the Nintendo WII :)

Noel DLP said...

oops, misspelled your name. Sorry Jeffri :)