Soup Number Five

In August, I accepted a job posting in the Philippines; a journey I believed was going to be filled with personal growth, enlightenment, and maturity. It turned out I was wrong, and on my second to last day in the country, I found a pair.

I am talking of course about the legendary Soup Number Five, a dish that’s both reviled by travelers and adored by locals. Given an inconspicuous name so as not to turn off hungry clients, Soup Number Five features a spicy broth, fire roasted corn, and all the delectable goodness from a bull’s most personal of regions. Believed to contain mystical aphrodisiac properties based on Plato’s theory “you are what you eat”, testosterone filled men down bowl after bowl in hopes of becoming Casanova … or at the very least, Ron Jeremy.

As I walked out of the safe comforts of my home in Megaworld, down into Mandurriao, I began to question this move. My wife is 10,000 miles away. What if the soup made me strong for longer than 4 hours? Would I be forced to seek medical attention? This suddenly seemed like the worst decision I’d be making since I’d eaten at Jollibee. That’s when God stepped in, and sent me bovine intervention. A cow literally wandered out of nowhere and into the street in front of me.

The message was clear. I had to follow through. I wasn’t going to chicken out. I was going to have the balls.

Within minutes, I was standing at the counter Kalaha ni Manoy’s Ihawan; a tiny little road side restaurant with an impossible to pronounce name. They had all the traditional Filipino staples, combo meals ranging from meat with rice, to different meat with rice. And as tempting as the Hotsilog (a hot dog and rice) or Cornsilog (“corned beef” and rice) sounded, nothing was going to deter me.

I casually ordered Soup Number Five, trying to act the part of the kind of guy who orders Soup Number Five all the time. Not that I have any idea what that kind of guy looks like, but I figured asking for a “hot bowl of baloney ponies please” was probably a little TOO casual.

Within minutes, my steaming serving of erogenous zone arrived.

Okay, so far so good. No foul odors. Nothing that I could easily identify. What if I didn’t like it? Was it polite to spit, or would I be expected to swallow? I needed to take a closer look.

There was definitely something in my soup that I wasn’t accustomed to. Sure, the slightly charred corn pieces were appreciated, and I always love a nice cut of lean beef, but those fatty, mushroom like bits? There was no doubt what they were. I squeezed a piece between my fingers, and it was a bit spongy. I was clearly feeling a little teste.

Still, it was time to go balls deep, and fill my mouth. I opened wide, and shut my eyes, and let it slide deep into my throat. It was … dare I say, not bad! First off, in a country obsessed with sugar, it was really nice to have a slightly spicy meal. The beef bits were really tasty, but the consistency of the testicular region was definitely a little more chewy than I preferred. I took a second bite… and that promptly came back.

I’d nearly swallowed the bone – and not the bone I was expecting! Now, I’m no medical professional, but I was always under the impression that baby makers were boneless. This was an impostor. Fake trouser meat … who knew?

I wound up blowing through the rest of the bowl, and I went about my day. I didn’t feel any stronger, and I certainly didn’t unleash a torrent of lust and hormones all over Iloilo, but as far as soup went … look, meat is meat. A country where food is at a premium means you use *everything* at your disposal, which means you’re not raised to see any part of the animal as unsavory. If it can be eaten, rest assured, it will be. For what it was, it was pretty good, and I cleaned the bowl. That’s right…

I didn’t even leave a tip.


  1. It’s nice to know that you roam around the city and taste its delectable offerings…have a safe and enjoyable stay in Iloilo.

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