Hanging loose at Groundswell (restaurant review)

You’ve read my exciting waterfall-climbing experience at Diguisit Falls, my tirade about AMCO hotel, and my journey aboard JoyBus to get to the province. But before I close the Aurora chapter of my travel portfolio, I’d like to give a shoutout to Groundswell Cafe, which is actually one of the highlights of the trip.

After our less-than-stellar dinner, my companion and I decided to set out for some coffee before turning in for the night. My mistake was not searching for one before we left Manila, especially knowing how temperamental my phone’s internet connection can be sometimes. It’s a good thing it cooperated with me somewhat (albeit hesitantly) as I used it to search for a place where we could drown the day’s exhaustion with caffeine.

Groundswell Cafe 1 Baler Aurora EatPlayLog

The first place that popped up in my search was Stir It Up, which many reviewers have been singing praises about. Was it as good as they claim it to be? Never got to find out; we couldn’t find the damned place. No one seemed to know the place; the tricycle drivers didn’t even know where Don Badong Street is. We didn’t want to keep wasting money on tricycle fare looking for it, so we went for our second option: Groundswell Cafe.

Groundswell Cafe 2 Baler Aurora EatPlayLog

At least this one seemed easier to find. According to various food sites, it’s located in this place called Charlie Does close to Costa Pacifica Hotel (an easier landmark to find), so we just asked the tricycle driver to drop us off at said hotel. We asked the Costa Pacifica guard for directions and he pointed us to an intimately lit shop that’s practically in front of the hotel. After smacking our foreheads, we headed to the cafe.

Groundswell is very laid-back for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a surf-themed cafe, and is supposedly run by local surfers (the moniker should tip you off). Two, it’s not just a place for coffee; they actually sell craft beer here, so you get the best of both worlds. The decor, interior textures, furniture, overall atmosphere of the place put together… you’d probably feel so chill they’ll have to peel you off the floor before closing time.

Groundswell Cafe 4 Baler Aurora EatPlayLog

Groundswell Cafe 5 Baler Aurora EatPlayLog

It wasn’t a beer kind of night for us, so we both opted for coffee (he a cappuccino, me an americano) and chose to share a slice of cheesecake. The coffee was nice and strong, just what I needed after a long day and an underwhelming dinner. The cheesecake was also a pretty good sweet contrast to the bitter brew. But more than a place where you grab a drink and go, its comfy set-up is very inviting for long chats, especially when you remember that the hotel waiting for you isn’t that nice. They also have al fresco tables if you want to take your drinks outside and hang out amidst the cool Baler air. Or Bal-air. Badum-tssss! (I’ll show myself out now.)

Groundswell Cafe 3 Baler Aurora EatPlayLog

Don’t forget to stop by Groundswell if you’re the kind of person who likes to end the night with some coffee (or beer). They’ve also got peanut butter or salted caramel coffees which I hear are pretty popular, as well as various other eats (I think I remember spotting pasta in a mason jar).

(As for Stir It Up, I might be going back to Baler soon, so who knows?)

Overall rating: ★★★★☆

Groundswell Cafe
Buton Street, Brgy. Sabang, Baler, Aurora

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