Measuring it by eye

Listing and writing down recipes… That is something I am yet to practice religiously. It’s not really because I don’t want to share or it’s just me being lazy (Err, this part is partly true. lol). It’s more because I have acquired the treasured and passed down tradition among Asian generations of “measuring it by eye.”😂

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Dark chocolate, rosemary and olive oil cake

The #StruggleIsReal with getting some baking ingredients this lockdown period. One of the items I’ve had a hard time finding the most is unsalted butter. So, if you are like me who have struggled with that during this lockdown period… here’s a chocolate cake recipe that don’t need it!

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Witch Kitchen

Hi! I am Zay, your resident foodie.

I love cooking, eating, and feeding people, hence the avalanche of content for this food blog. Preparing a meal from scratch is a magical opportunity; cooking in itself is a ritual. They are also chances to bring vibrancy and richness to someone’s existence, or even just your own.
I’m Filipino-British, so expect content from the two countries I call home. I will be posting pictures of bakes and dishes usually cooked, styled, and (of course) eaten by myself. I’ll also recommend past and present restaurant haunts.
There’s something about food that brings levity and soul to your day. You can also count on them to lift your mood and spirit. Whatever goes on in the kitchen isn’t then… a wonderful kind of witchery?
I hope you join me on this journey of trying to paint life with flavours. And, let’s always try to eat and live magically! ✨

P.S. Not an actual witch! Or am I? 😉

Isang Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan

This government is trying to urgently enact an Anti-Terrorism Bill – right now, in a time of crisis – as if this country does not have a history of immense injustices against the common people; constant abuse of power; rampant corruption; threats to freedom of expression; and, egregious human rights violations. As if the harmful rhetoric currently permeating our society paired with various problems and barriers in the judicial system do not continue to nurture a hostile environment, which allows for prevalent impunity. The very culture of impunity that further helps in ushering the critics and the marginalised to their graves, without justice nor consequence.

Contention about the bill is brought about by the erosion of trust in our state institutions to provide adequate protection and lay out safeguards from possible intimidations.

A new report by the UN Human Rights Office highlights Filipino citizens’ “fears over their safety and a sense of powerlessness in the search for justice.” Among other human rights concerns, it also raises anxiety over the institutionalisation and normalisation of the “vilification of dissent” in the country. Challenging policies and bringing issues up for debate are constantly being maligned – at the expense of human rights, due process, and state accountability.

Nonetheless, the report also mentions that the “Philippines has a long-standing and robust tradition of human rights advocacy and activism.” Whenever there is a threat to curtail our liberty, we fought back. Our hope is rooted in the faith that this is not going to change. Hindi tayo pasisiil.

The future is full of worries even on the eve of our Independence Day anniversary. I wish that today we can contemplate on our strengths, as a country of the people, as well as our abilities to still reach our full potential. And tomorrow, may we have renewed aspirations in greeting each other a Happy Independence Day. 🇵🇭

Read the UNCHR here:

Tagalog summary:

What is the viability of a ‘Philippine Broadcasting Corporation’?

There has been suggestions and speculations on what could potentially fill ABS-CBN’s national television and radio frequencies, after it was ordered to cease operations on the 5th of May 2020. One of them is the creation of a publicly owned broadcaster comparable to that of the United Kingdom’s BBC.

First off, there shouldn’t be a void in the Philippine media industry right now in the first place. The fact that the biggest broadcaster in the country was shut down through the exploitation of political pressures and influences should not be tolerated nor accepted; if anything, defiance should be our response. I’ve already articulated my thoughts and feelings about this in this post: #DefendPressFreedom

To shut down one of the major broadcasters in the country is to suppress its press freedom. 

The media speaks truth to power and challenges complacency in our government and institutions. In essence, it makes sure that power is never without responsibility. 

The law is being weaponised to shut down criticisms; political capital is being exploited to stop people from pointing out injustices and uncomfortable facts. This is state power bearing down not only on what it deems unsympathetic journalism but also on freedom of expression. This is democratic deficit in action.

Continue reading “What is the viability of a ‘Philippine Broadcasting Corporation’?”


Freedom of speech should be universal. It allows for significant participants in the political and social dialogue to dare to tackle important or even controversial issues. And, journalists and media institutions have in their possession the skills and capabilities to draw stark and sometimes even explicit images that really strikes the core and truth of issues and problems. Stories matter and a wide range of perspectives is critical in educating and empowering the masses. The media can encourage debates and public pressures; it brings consciousness and makes it available to everyone.

To shut down one of the major broadcasters in the country is to suppress its press freedom.

The media speaks truth to power and challenges complacency in our government and institutions. In essence, it makes sure that power is never without responsibility.

The law is being weaponised to shut down criticisms; political capital is being exploited to stop people from pointing out injustices and uncomfortable facts. This is state power bearing down not only on what it deems unsympathetic journalism but also on freedom of expression. This is democratic deficit in action.

Have no mistake, this does not only curtail the ability of journalists and other media practitioners in trying to define and describe what is happening in our world; this is also going to disenfranchised a significant number of Filipino citizens in the process.

In this dark time, I hope the nation remains steadfast in its indignation and defiance… because with our very rights and liberties at stake, there is much to be angry about.


Social media bubbles and online relationships

I have been thinking about this for a while but I’m not really sure how to articulate it properly. I probably still can’t but I’m going to give it a try.

The recent issue regarding Joshua Molo’s alleged forced public apology, which stemmed from an online discussion with his former teachers, brought about debates surrounding free speech and how cyber libel law should be wielded. But for me, it took to spotlight an issue that has also been a stark recurring theme throughout the political discourse during the current crisis we are going through. This is how teachers and students (current or previous) navigate their online relationships and connections across digital and social media spaces. It has been more problematic than most of us would care to admit.

Yes, this also applies to adults in general because older people are instinctively figures of authority we turn and look up to. But for teachers and students, we can actually establish ethical guidelines through reinforceable policies. We need not only be governed by our own individual interpretations of virtue and moral compass.

Impressionable young kids are on social media. Surely, adults can appreciate that posting something online and putting things out there are now available to a wider audience, that sometimes we can’t even control. They are not only available to your age group or your friends anymore. Students, nieces, nephews, children of friends… everyone else you’ve added or added you on those social media bubbles can stumble upon it. We have to accept that children are going to be online whether we like it or not – whether it’s appropriate or otherwise. This is the reality brought about by the age of new media that we cannot do much about. But how we behave within these modern mediums of communication, that’s something we can shape with careful thought, intellect, responsibility, benevolence and restraint.

Arguably, these online connections could be mostly harmless, but who’s to say they can’t be harmful. A lot of what I’ve personally come across with are those opinions about how people should just shut up or how voicing out certain perspectives or facts is considered to be a know-it-all attitude. I personally find this disappointing, especially coming from people my younger self used to admire – a sentiment that I’m sure is shared by many. I can go on and on about my feelings and thoughts about this but let me end with some questions to ponder on instead…

Do we really want a generation who has learned to live in shame for what they think? Do we really want to curtail our abilities to conduct useful debate because of pride, fallacies, and devotions? For a large portion of the population to grow up desensitised or scared about voicing their opinion screams Orwellian to me; why does that not scare you?

Paint me red. Paint me brave. Colour me hopeful.

I started this decade with a move to England. I am ending it with a year back in homeland.

“You already live and work in London? Then, what are you doing back here?!” I was often at the end of this kind of query for the last year. People are baffled. They wonder why I came back, especially in a country where it seems that one of the biggest achievement you can do is to leave.

I have been here in the Philippines for a year now, when most people thought I wouldn’t last for long.
“You’re too sheltered.”
“You’ve already enjoyed a certain kind of lifestyle.”
“You are not cut out for the grind here.”
“This would not suit you. At all!“
“You have no idea how tough it is.“
“You. Cannot. Possibly. Last.”
Everyone must have thought that I have glazed over eyes coming back. Most would have thought it idealistic, even unrealistic, when I said I am here to pursue my passion.

And for the most part, I believed that maybe they are right. Perhaps this was just me looking to confront a challenge. An exercise of free will in seeking a great perhaps, at best. Or wishful folly, at worst. This might become nothing more than a failed experiment of a privileged petulant young adult in her pursuit for something more. Nevertheless, I also took those wanton remarks on my stride.

So, here I stand. Constantly anxious? Absolutely. Still high-strung? Very much so! But never tired of proving myself – for the things that matter. At the danger of sounding too clichéd… Follow your dreams. Be steadfast in your passion. Know your goals. You might not know if it’s worth it – I’m still not quite sure myself – but you can have tons of pleasures and experiences finding out.

Don’t let the metaphorical ropes hold you. Work those frays instead of letting them scare you. You are always bigger than your doubts. It just takes one to embrace the immensity and all the colours of possibilities.

Paint me red. Paint me brave. Colour me hopeful. I am ready for this decade. Bring it the hell on!

Filipina designer finds her own skin on London catwalk

Ecdysis Collection on London College of Fashion Degree show 2019 catwalk

Filipina-British fashion designer Faye Arguelles debuts her collection at #LCF19 Degree Show on 18 July 2019. ‘Ecdysis’ showcases a collection of couture pieces underlying the present need for humans to wear masks as protection from pollution, while also drawing inspiration from nature itself.

Screenshot 2019-09-02 at 18.12.32
Faye Arguelles read Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Textiles majoring in Embroidery at LCF

Stirred by her birth country’s nature and landscape imageries, Arguelles contrasts heritage lands like the rice terraces – carved into the mountains by the hands of Filipino ancestors and indigenous people – with mining sites caused by urbanisation.

“Ecdysis means shedding the old skin. I wish for it to express the constantly changing ways of our earth caused by nature and the civilisations in it. There is always a layer of new skin to find,” Arguelles said.

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