Twenty Three

January 14, 2016 Filed Under: Abbey, Art, Collaborations, Personal 18 Comments


Today marks my twenty third year as a legitimate human being on this place called earth.


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The moment I turned eighteen, I told myself that it was possible to turn things around – maybe it was an excuse because of the official *debut party* and all that. Nevertheless, I changed up a few things, transferred majors, and ended up with a educational experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

When I reached the twenty mark, it was time to grow up. Twenty one wasn’t any different – I had graduated from university then. But so far, turning twenty two has given me a lot of life lessons and experiences enough to sort of fix my life together and know that this is exactly where I’m at. It feels weird moving on from being twenty two (cue Taylor Swift’s 22) but as per usual, I’d like to think twenty three is just a continuation from there.


It’s such a challenge to be human. To know that despite what you do on a daily basis (i.e. work, chores, tasks and errands), above all – you are 100% human. You operate much like a machine, but with emotions attached to your system. Each part makes up a whole; and basically it’s up to you to function as you wish and create yourself from it.

(LOL at my scientific observations. *This is real, this is me* haha anyway.)

Photo-3 (1)Photo-6Call me a late bloomer, but it’s just recently that I’ve learned to identify the type of person I am – and what, I used to think I was abnormal. Selective of the people I spend time with, satisfied with my own company, expressive in the most discreet way (i.e. writing and drawing, mostly), and an officially crazy workaholic who can’t spend even a day without checking her e-mails. Hahaha.

And you know what – for the longest time, I tried to change – well, guess I can’t. Acceptance is key.Photo-11ABC23-38

I think, for the most part, the biggest challenge of turning another year older is slowly getting to put the pieces together and map out what seems to be the *~near future~*. To be honest, it scares me. This pressure to have to “keep excelling and being better” eats me up sometimes but I just disregard it. I don’t have any plans yet – I just have goals I want to achieve for the rest of my years. This adulthood mindset seems too real to be ignored, and for the most part, I know I still have a long way to go with what I want to do with my life. I hope keeping that in mind is enough for now. *I hope!*

2015 has given me enough wake up calls. The universe was kind enough to open doors by way of the most unexpected circumstances – through people, projects, and places. There’s also the part where “I-figured-some-parts-of-my-life-out-yay” after what seemed to be an internal battle between living in my comfort zone for 21 years and finally taking the big leap to become a full-time artist.


And because of it, I don’t have any particular birthday wish this 2016. Most of my goals remain the same: travel more, live more, make better choices, and be kinder to myself. Then, there are the more ambitious and bold ones: to study/live abroad for a period of time, work with dream brands & clients (basically putting it out there ~in case~ it happens), write more stories, and inspire more people.

[Check out the zine below for a full list of my 2016 goals.]

Photo-11 (1)ABC23-108

I don’t know how to end this post. I felt like I just gave myself a good hit in the head (and heart ehem) with this post (I like reading old entries, so I will probably freak out after x years when I get to access this again). But one thing’s for sure, I’m excited for 23! Bring it on, 2016. :)

But if you read through this part, and if you’ve been following me since Tumblr, h.e.a.r.t. by artistic-dreams, and all those pre-lettering phases I had, thank you for being part of my journey, in one way or another. :)

That was six freaking years, if you count it. Whew! I don’t think I’ve kept myself long enough to keep doing this and pushing myself forward without you guys tweeting me and showing your support at every endeavour I’ve had in my life. Sobrang ibang level kayo, sa totoo lang. I want to freak out every time I attend signing and events because I never expected to have so much people appreciate my work. Salamat talaga! Huhuhu

Everything I’ve achieved now seemed like something impossible in my past life. So thank you to everyone who has made it possible. And to the bunch of friends I’ve made in social media, y’all know who you are – you have all been instrumental parts of my growth. Special shoutout to the talented + amazing Maine and Shutter Panda‘s Mare and Karen for producing this shoot. One of the best birthday gifts I could ever ask for.

Alright, I’m ending this post because (1) I have to paint and (2) I have to dress up and hide at a coffee shop today, while I’m on day off. :)ABC23-60Photo-18

Art direction + HMUA + editorial design by Maine Manalansan

Photography + post-processing by Mare Collantes & Karen de la Fuente of Shutter Panda

Hand lettering by Abbey Sy (of course, haha)

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18 Responses to “Twenty Three”

  1. Haina Salik
    January 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Happy birthday, Abbey!! i just want to thank you because without you, I wouldn’t know what I want to do with my life. I found your blog 2yrs ago, and I realized I wanted to be like you (but in a diff way because I don’t know how to deal with watercolors). You’re one of my inspirations since then! You continue to inspire me because of your achievements. And, one of my life goals is to work with you someday. Hahahaha. Who knows, right? 😊 Have a great birthday!!! ❤️

  2. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Thanks, Haina! :) Well, we’ll see then!

  3. Kaila
    January 14, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Waah, ang ganda ng pictures / art direction / everything!

    Saka gusto ko talaga pag nagsusulat ka, nagreresonate! : )

    Naalala ko yung UP Shoot with Ber before! Good times!

    Happy Birthday again! Natuwa ako sa throwback ng debut mo! Kawaii! hahaha

  4. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 11:04 am

    omg tiningnan mo ba yung sa debut ko charot ;_; HAHA

    Thank yew! Credits to my talented friends huhu. Grabe yun, good times talaga! Picnic when you come here please. Love you!

  5. Louise Ramos
    January 14, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Happy birthday Abbey! You’ll always be my major inspiration! Before (Tumblr 5ever!) and until now. I doubt this day-off is really a day-off. Haha. I feel like I would see snaps of you painting/lettering again within the day 😂 But yes, be kinder to yourself. Hope you have not just a good (birth)day, but a well-deserved amazing year. ♥️
    Caffeine Rush

  6. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks Louise! :) Well, semi-day off…hahaha.

  7. Bea Quisumbing
    January 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Love this, Abbey! Happy 23rd birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day today!

  8. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks, Bea! <3

  9. Corinth
    January 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Happy birthday Abbey! <3 May 23 be better than 22! God bless you and I know you'll be able to achieve your goals! Beautiful photos. There's so much feelz, especially the ones in the zine… <3

  10. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks so much Corinth! Lol at feelz…that’s me and my other side. Hehehe.

  11. Eileen
    January 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Happy birthday po! This was very inspiring. I mean, YOU ARE REALLY INSPIRING! I feel so lucky I have seen your progress which really inspired and motivated me to do better. Creativity really takes courage. You proved that anyone can make their own masterpieces as long as they have courage. Thank you for being an instrument in fueling our passion for art. Happy birthay po ulit, Ate Abbey! Hoping to work with you (pagkagraduate ko) hehe! God bless you and more artsy adventures to come! 💖

  12. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks, Eileen! I look forward to meeting you soon, then! :)

  13. Nicole
    January 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    All the pictures are so pretty omg. Happy birthday ate Abbey!! ☺️🎈🎉

  14. Abbey
    January 14, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks Nicole! :)

  15. Celina
    January 15, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I love this post!! Grabe, it makes me want to contemplate on my life since I’m turning 20 this year HUHU diba parang 16 lang ata ako when I met you online?? huhu

    ANYWAY, I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for the amazing girl with a h.e.a.r.t. ♡ You’re an inspiration to a lot of people – obviously including myself! And I always say this to you pero for the nth time, I’m soooo proud of you / happy for you and it always warms my heart whenever I see you achieve something new :-) Here’s to more blessings for you!! Happy Birthday again ♡

  16. Abbey
    January 15, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Hi Celina! Huhuhu. Thank you for everything ~ oo mga 16 pa ata yun. Wew, time flies! Whatever it is you’ll be doing, I’m sure you’ll be great :)

  17. Coolen
    January 15, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Abbey! Happy birthday! I wish you all the best in life and keep creating. You’re an inspiration. I would never know you if not for your book. :-)

  18. Abbey
    January 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Thanks, Coolen! :)