I didn’t think I needed a Bliss Bowl until I had one, in the same way that I didn’t think we needed more cafés in Manila until Wildflour came along—not because we had such good ones, or inversely because we had bad ones, but in the sense of having a place to eat that wasn’t tethered to a specific time of day, or occasion, or agenda. Wildflour created that space, that niche, that one restaurant that could literally do it all, great food and sensible pricing included.
We think of things always in terms of what we need, or in technical jargon like “unique selling proposition,” or some other porous marketing term—things like, “it’s corn, but it’s on-the-go” or “it’s lipstick, but it’s liquid” or “he doesn’t actually know how to run a country, but he’s a strongman.” This makes logical sense. (Well, except that last one.)
But there are always great ideas that defy logic and marketing sense. As we used to say in my former advertising job, usually as we watched a gorilla play the drums for a Cadbury commercial (that went viral, in case you’re wondering), how the hell did this pitch go? How the hell did they sell this? How the hell did a creative get this idea through?
The truth is, smoothie bowls aren’t an earth-shattering idea. Smoothies are hardly unprecedented (we’ve all enjoyed that Big Chill banana peanut shake x Jamaican Pattie combo at Rockwell one too many times), so there wasn’t anything particularly compelling about eating it with a spoon instead of a straw, at a table instead of on the go. But I went, and I ate, and I realized slowly that there is—there is something so wonderful about sitting at a table, being forced to look at your food and consider your every bite. There is something so refreshing about being in a small, random space in SM Megamall, with nothing even remotely “Instagrammable” about what’s happening around you and absolutely no bloggers in sight. There is something so brilliant about taking an otherwise forgettable snack in the form of a shake, and to turn it into a meal (lunch or dinner to some, apparently) and give it gravitas with a spoon, bowl, table, and chair. (Is that what they call marketing? Maybe it is, after all.)
Bliss Bowls is my personal dead zone. I’ve learned that it’s best done alone—no boyfriends, no besties, no emotions, no phones vibrating with work. Nothing to battle for my attention, nothing other than my Amazing Kale bowl. I cut up the bananas so that I have enough for every mouthful of smoothie. I dip my spoon on the side with agave honey for a hint of sweetness. I’m careful not to mix any of it together, liking how slowly I make my way down the lines of fruits, nuts, and coconut flakes. Sometimes, when they have it, I do the chia pudding bowl instead.
At the back of my head, I could probably do it myself, make a smoothie bowl myself. But then I wouldn’t have a reason to cut myself off from the world, I wouldn’t have this space to fly solo. I’ve been there during hard days, and the easier ones; I’ve been there in the early morning with my hair wet, and late in the evening with my bones tired. It doesn’t matter. It’s always the same: Consistent. Flavorful. Clean. The taste is great, of course. But the feeling—the feeling is the best part.
Photos courtesy of Pam Basa-Siao
Art by Mags Ocampo
BLISS BOWLS IS LOCATED IN SM MEGAMALL 4/5 MEGA A, OPEN ON ALL THE DAYS OF THE WEEK FROM 10AM-10PM. FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM AT INSTAGRAM.COM/BLISSBOWLS.