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Aphrodisiac search: Trying to get hot in the city

While most food could melt a man's heart through his stomach, others could just go down his groin and fire it up. That's how aphrodisiacs work. Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of erotic love and beauty, an aphrodisiac is any animal part, root, sea creature, or bug believed to add oomph to one's sexual appetite. Despite the lack of scientific studies to back up an aphrodisiac's effectiveness, numerous books have been published claiming that this love potion can cure impotence and increase libido. In Ars Amatoria (Art of Love), Ovid's collection of Roman burlesque satire on didactic poetry, a number of aphrodisiacs was mentioned – including honey, seeds of stinging nettles, white onions from the city of Megara, and crushed yellow chamomile flowers dunked in well-aged wine. If stinging nettles and drunken flowers don't seem appetizing to you, try what Martha Hopkins offers. In her international bestseller, The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, Hopkins offers 145 couple-tested sensual recipes that include dishes with "pink swirling seeds of a fig, the phallic shape of a stalk of asparagus, or the sticky sweetness of honey." Early this month, the Magdalo rebel soldiers had launched the cookbook, Pulutan: From the Soldiers Kitchen, a 133-page tasty manifesto of often chili-laced beer mates that boasts of the potency of the soldiers' favorite aphrodisiacs. The list of known aphrodisiacs extends from the exotic (powdered rhino horn, snake's blood, sturgeon fish eggs), to the common (avocado, oyster, or banana). With Maria Clara in tow
Having constantly devoured half a dozen bananas per week, but having neither urge nor erection after, this writer decided to try unfamiliar aphrodisiacs. In the pursuit of sexually arousing food, I implored the help of my friend and fellow aphrodisiac-ignoramus, Nica on a gastronomical adventure to Manila. I asked Nica to accompany me not only to find out if aphrodisiacs had the same effect on women as on men, but also to see her reaction because I've known her as a true-blue Maria Clara who would hyperventilate at the sight of dogs amorously sniffing each other out on the street. So after meeting up at Philcoa in Quezon City, we took a short FX ride to our first destination, the Quiapo Church in Manila. I was expecting the whole place to be teeming with vendors selling pampagana (stimulants), especially along Rizal Avenue, a well-known center of the hush-hush industry. But just how do you ask around for aphrodisiacs without looking like a total pervert? Luckily, that was no problem for me, as Nica did most of the asking. "Ale, meron ba kayong, 'yong, pampagana? (Miss, are you selling sexual stimulants?)" she brazenly asked every single herb peddler we spotted. At first, we really wanted it to appear that we were a couple to avoid the suspicious looks of the wary vendors. However, I didn't realize that this setup would backfire on me. Almost every vendor we asked for aphrodisiacs told me: "Ang bata mo pa, 'di ka na ba tinitigasan? (You seem so young, don't you get an erection anymore?)." "Well, it's not for me," I declared. Then I whispered, "It's for her [pointing to Nica]." Dried croc penis
After much searching, we were pointed to Aling Ising who, sensing that we were more likely to be undercover agents than lovers, was hesitant to show us the aphrodisiacs unless we paid her. Aling Ising's "hot" bestsellers included an oddly named Chinese liquid medicine called, pojing and pinatuyong titi ng buwaya (dried croc penis). I saw Nica's eye grew big as Aling Ising motioned how large the amphibious aphrodisiac was. "They usually get the crocodiles in Bicol. You'll only see it when you buy it," Aling Ising insisted. After backing out on learning of the croc's P700 price tag, we went to the Binondo district, and there we were told that some restaurants served potent sex stimulants. From where we were, Binondo was one of those places that was so near for a jeep ride yet so far to walk. It was there that I saw the local horse-drawn carriage – the kalesa. For a fee, the few remaining kalesas traveled through the familiar clogged arteries of Manila, and brought lovers to some of the city's famous landmarks. We were supposed to make a short ride to Binondo, but the Maria Clara in Nica hinted that we should exploit Manila's hidden sites instead, while thinking of a good place to eat. "This is romantic," Nica said, giggling, "I feel like a princess. Now where's my prince?" So for 30 minutes, Kuya Romy, our coachman and blasé tour guide, begrudgingly brought us to the Manila Cathedral and the ruins of Intramuros, before dropping us off at a roadside eatery that was famous in Binondo for serving authentic Cantonese cuisine. Hot legs, cow balls
The roadside eatery was actually made up of about ten small restaurants all painted in the Chinese lucky color – red. Nica and I had looked thoroughly through the glass panels covering the raw seafood, making sure that we picked something edible. The stall we chose boasted of the freshest looking array of seafood meat that included scallops, oysters, clams, tiger prawns, and sea cucumbers, as well as shiitake mushrooms, young corns, and broccoli. The servers first gave me an embarrassed smile when I asked where to find the infamous Soup No.5. They then pointed toward the partly hidden Food Fare Fastfood by the corner. Food Fare served two renowned aphrodisiacs in that side of Binondo: Soup No.5, which was basically bull's testicles in broth and 'Palos' or eel soup. A server from the restaurant said that several celebrities had visited them in the past, including the "King of Comedy" himself, Dolphy. So I gave the bull's testicles a try, as well as the buttered spicy frog legs, which they claimed also gave a powerful erection. I didn't immediately inform Nica what the Soup No. 5 was until I saw her chewing one of the bull's testicles. "Does it taste like chicken?" I asked. I thought she'd choke to death when I told her she was actually eating beef balls. "That explains it," she said before giving her plate another serving. As I tasted it, the testicle was like beef cartilage but felt like custard on the palette. I didn't know what Chinese herbs were in my soup. But the herbs crawled to my throat and left a menthol-like aftertaste, probably due to the ginseng root I suspected was in it. Meanwhile, the deep-fried frog legs, served with a numbing spicy Szchechuan sauce, tasted like a fishy chicken. Despite the absence of a hard-on, I suddenly felt oddly hot – and so did Nica. We started to perspire profusely, and breathe rapidly. Scientific notes
"Chillies, curries, and other spicy foods have been viewed as aphrodisiacs because their physiological effects – a raised heart rate and sometimes sweating – are similar to the physical reactions experienced during sex. And some foods were glorified as aphrodisiacs based on their rarity and mystery," the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explained. People's belief on the effects of aphrodisiacs seem to stem largely from the law of similarity. The most notable examples of these, according to the FDA, are oysters, rhino horn, and ginseng. "The word ginseng means 'man root,' and the plant's reputation as an aphrodisiac probably arises from its marked similarity to the human body. The similarity of the shape of the rhinoceros horn to the penis is credited for its worldwide reputation as a libido enhancer. [Meanwhile] Because Aphrodite was said to be born from the sea, many types of seafood have reputations as aphrodisiacs. " Despite the fact that aphrodisiacs — like bull's testicles and frog legs — don't have scientific studies backing up their effectiveness, protein derived from both dishes can help build muscles for men. And if there's one thing women prefer in sex, it's a man with strong, hard, muscles. Likewise, powdered rhino horns contain calcium and phosphorus, which are often lacking in the usual American diet, while oysters contain zinc, which improves health and can in turn increase sex drive. However, the FDA approved the use of other means to uplift men's impotence aside from eating bugs or plants. One of these is Caverject, which is self-injected into the penis shortly before sexual intercourse. "The drug creates an erection by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue and dilating the major artery in the penis, which enhances the blood flow to the penis," the FDA said. However, Caverject also has some side effects like penile pain, bleeding in the injection site, and "prolonged erection of four to six hours." The biggest sex organ
Recent studies have concluded that while love is a matter of the heart, the sexual act is entirely a brain thing. In fact, the brain is considered as the largest sex organ in the human body, producing stimulants for erection in males, and triggering climax after. Doctors believe that most sexual problems are caused by psychological problems, like stress, depression, or even anxiety. Proper diet and good exercise, which result in excellent health and a great body, are keen to a more appetizing sex life, according to most studies. "Being in shape, eating healthfully, not smoking and not drinking are all ways to prevent obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease and hypercholesterolemia – things that significantly impact blood flow," Dr. Karen Boyle of the Johns Hopkins Hospital explained. "I counsel all of my patients about making these lifestyle changes for penile health," she added. Sometimes, injecting romance into the equation can give an added boost to sexual performance. Despite ending our day without an erection on my end, and with no sexual urge from Nica, the whole experience of hunting aphrodisiacs in Manila – visiting old churches, riding a horse-drawn carriage and eating out together – might have been the most potent sex drug there is. - GMANews.TV
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