FOUNTAIN PEN DAY PHILIPPINES 2017

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Photos by Leigh Reyes

Fountain Pen Network-Philippines recently celebrated International Fountain Pen Day 2017 last Nov. 4 at Commune Cafe+Bar in Makati! We first started celebrating the event with pen meets and sales from our favorite vendors way back in 2014. Read about our FPD-PH adventures back in 2014, 2015 and 2016. This year, Fountain Pen Day is brought to us by Cars and Calibres, and Calibre Magazine. In our experience, people who like cars and watches usually end up liking fountain pens!

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Here’s the indefatigable organizer, Leigh Reyes, manning the registration table. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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Photo by Sheila Tiongco

The event lasted all afternoon, and was very well-attended.  The place was packed until the early evening!  Participating vendors included Scribe, Pengrafik, Everything Calligraphy, Bags by Rubbertree, The Curious ArtisanHorology Matters, Peter Bangayan (Bexley Pens, Diamine Inks), and Caloy Abad Santos (Gav N Sav Pen Wraps). Also on display was an aquarium system by Aquarium Design Amano.

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Scribe. Photo by Mona Caccam.

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Everything Calligraphy. Photo by Iya Buzeta-Acero.

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Pengrafik. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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The Curious Artisan. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.

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Bags by Rubbertree. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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Horology Matters. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.

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Bexley Pens/Diamine Music Set (Peter Bangayan) and Gav N Sav pen wraps (Caloy Abad Santos). Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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Cars and Calibres display. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.

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Photo by Ticky Tabujara.

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John Raymond Lim. Photo by Chito Gregorio.

Local nibmeisters and all-around fountain pen repair guys John Raymond Lim and Mark Tiangco were on hand to deal with quick nib grinds, tine realignments and other issues people had with some of their pens.

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Raffle. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.

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Leigh Reyes. Photo by Chito Gregorio.

A raffle was held at 4pm, with prizes donated by our generous vendors.

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Calibre Magazine Editor in Chief, Carl Cunanan. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

Participants who went on social media during the event were given special Fountain Pen Day buttons.  T-shirts were also sold at the event.

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Photo by Leigh Reyes

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Photo by Augusto Toledo II

Everyone went home with issues of Calibre Magazine.

Fountain Pen Network-Philippines and Fountain Pen Day-Philippines are on Facebook. Join us!

Many thanks to all those who attended and participated!  See you all again next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FOUNTAIN PEN DAY 2017 COMING SOON!

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This year Fountain Pen Network-Philippines is celebrating Fountain Pen Day on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017 at the Commune Cafe and Bar, at 36 Polaris cor. Durban Sts., Makati, from 1-6pm.  This is open to the public! Entrance is free and snacks will be served to the first 50 guests.  Fountain Pen Day is brought to you by Cars and Calibres, and Calibre Magazine.

International Fountain Pen Day is usually held on the first Friday of November. It was first organized by Cary Yeager in the US. Here in the Philippines, we have been celebrating it since 2014.  Here are accounts of our celebrations from 2014, 2015 and 2016.

If you have any pens that need tuning or basic repair, please bring them on Nov. 4. Our resident nibmeisters, John Raymond Lim, J. P. Reinoso, and Mark Tiangco will be there to give your pens some TLC.

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Some of our favorite retailers, Pengrafik, Scribe, Everything Calligraphy and Bags by Rubbertree, will be on hand at Commune Cafe and Bar to supply you with pens, ink, paper and accessories, at major discounts!

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T-shirts (men’s sizes only, sorry) will also be available on a first-come, first served basis at P350 each.

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See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

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ROSELLE JAM

The other day my mother brought home a plastic bag of roselle seedpods.  Roselle is a variety of hibiscus plant that grows in shrubs. It is characterized by the fleshy sepals surrounding its seedpods, which are candied or made into tea or juice. These roselle seedpods came from plants growing along University Avenue at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City.  They were given to my mother by the gardener of the Campus Maintenance Office.

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The sepals are removed from the seedpods. To make jam, combine a cup of sugar for every cup of sepals (1:1) and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. The jam is a beautiful magenta-purple, and tastes tart and sweet, similar to dried cranberries.

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Our 4 cups of sepals and 4 cups of sugar produced about six 200g jars’ worth of roselle jam.

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You can also make iced tea from the sepals of the roselle. Roselle products are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Roselle leaves are also used as a souring agent in sinigang.

My sister wants to try and make a homemade ink from it, but needs more research.

 

 

 

 

TEA FOR ME

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I love tea, in particular, loose leaf tea. Several years ago, my parents came back from a trip to China with two tall canisters of tea. One was called Oriental Beauty, the other was Dragon Ball. Let me tell you, I was the only one to drink those teas regularly. The rest of my family were not tea drinkers. Oriental Beauty had a rich, delicate flavor, while Dragon Ball was stronger and had more caffeine. Oriental Beauty turned out to be an Oolong tea. Dragon Ball tea leaves were actually rolled into balls.

One day I came to the end of those canisters and looked around for replacement loose leaf teas. A friend from Melbourne gave me two teas from the tea boutique T2, Creme Brulee and Chocolate. They make great dessert teas.

In my search for more loose leaf tea I went to Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, and found at Bee Tin Grocery a pack of Ti Kuan Yin tea.  When brewed too long, it can keep you up awake at night! I also found Waitrose’s Darjeeling loose leaf tea in Rustan’s supermarket. My latest purchase was a kilo of George Steuarts Ceylon black tea (yes, a kilo, and I am steadily drinking it up on a daily basis).  I found it at a Christmas weekend market stall at a mall I go to. I use it to make my own milk tea at home instead of going out to buy it from a retailer.

I think it’s great that there are now more tea salons in Manila, like TWG Tea and da.u.de tea . There are, of course, bubble tea establishments galore, but I mean places where you can actually buy the tea leaves. Of course when this all runs out I don’t mind tea bags, but I’ll keep looking for the loose leaf.

CALLIGRAPHY MEET

I joined a calligraphy group on Facebook called Calligraphy Spot about a year ago. I joined because I liked looking at other people’s calligraphy, not that I wanted to make my own. I know, it’s weird. My focus is on using fountain pens for regular writing, rather than using dip pens for decorative work. But I managed to convince my sister to join the same group.  She even attended a calligraphy workshop and bought all the starter materials – Zebra G nibs, straight holder, oblique holder, Desiderata Daedalus pen, calligraphy pads, walnut ink, you name it.  I feel a little embarrassed that I’m not as determined as her to make art. She’s progressed so much in pointed pen calligraphy in a couple of months since she started.  I still print in my journals, and wonder whether my cursive handwriting will ever improve.

There was a small calligraphy meet scheduled the other day, at a little crepe restaurant in the mall near our house. It was supposed to be a pencil calligraphy and watercolor art meet.  Normally people bring their materials with them, order a snack, and share tips about what materials work best with what style, about techniques, things like that. My sister was there ahead of me, brandishing her Desiderata pen. I already knew some of the people there, they were also members of Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, which I help moderate. My sister explained to them that I just liked looking at other people’s calligraphy, but they said I was welcome anyway, hahaha.

The conversation veered from what fountain pen inks were archival (I participated in that discussion) to pencils being archival, to what pencils were locally available that could work best in calligraphy (Staedtler 6B, Caran d’Ache 9B, Palomino Blackwing, etc.), to special mechanical erasers, to Desiderata Daedalus pens being used as eyedroppers vs. with converters, to regular Zebra G nibs vs. the titanium version, to what locally available papers were worth investing in (Elias calligraphy pads and loose paper by the ream, Craftdoodle calligraphy pads, etc.).  It was all fun and fascinating. I should have brought my fountain pens (even though they don’t flex) and paper and doodled around just for fun.  There were a few one-on-one sessions for pencil calligraphy and how to use a Desiderata pen. The watercolorists were doing florals.

We had to leave before dinner, but we dropped by National Bookstore to buy specialty pencils. I had fun, and met new friends, and bonded with my sister.  I’m game to go to another meet in the future.

#DONTTAXMYBEAUTY

Yesterday I went to the mall and bought some drugstore makeup that was on sale.  The matte lipstick, micellar water, and foundation were very affordable; I only paid about PhP800, or USD16. Now imagine the prices of cosmetics and beauty services increased by anywhere from 10 to 30% in taxes!

There is a proposed bill with an amendment on excise taxes being charged on non-essential goods (like jewelry, perfumes, and other luxury items), by Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe. In her blog, Liz Lanuzo of Project Vanity quotes him as stating, “…Any increase of price for beauty and cosmetic products and services shall only be shouldered by those who choose to and can afford it,” and “…Raising the 20 percent excise tax on perfume and toilet waters to 30 percent would be preferable than any rise on our fuel prices.”

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian says the proposed vanity tax is “discriminatory to women”, and “not a viable alternative to excise taxes on fuel”. He is thinking of the welfare of working-class women, like sales ladies and office workers, for whom increased cosmetics prices would be burdensome.

Meanwhile the Department of Finance says that a vanity tax is not part of proposed tax reform packages being pitched to Congress.

The hashtag #DontTaxMyBeauty took off on social media. Here’s what people have to say.  I hope Batocabe’s bill will not be passed.

UPDATE: Batocabe withdrew his bill!  All the protest and uproar worked!

TEMPTATION

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Nakaya Neo-standard in Unpolished Shu, from Nibs.com.

Today I found out that one of my friends is selling her Nakaya neo-standard in unpolished shu, with a rhodium-plated soft medium nib for just under USD500. Unpolished shu is a warm red, a very attractive color. And the nib is the size I’m interested in. It’s USD700 at Classic Fountain Pens (Nibs.com), brand new. What bothers me is that it’s still twice the price I’ve paid for my most expensive pen so far.  Nakaya pens are usually what a lot of people think of as grail pens. Sure, I can rustle up the money, but I don’t think it’s prudent to be spending so much.

There’s also a Montblanc 146 being sold with an EF bicolor nib, for a bit over USD300. It’s a good price, but I already have a 146 with a cursive italic M nib, which I got for lower, and on lay-away, too.

I remember the time I saw a Pelikan M800 brown tortoise being sold for a good price, but wasn’t fast enough to buy it. For a while I felt bad, but then again I already had a green-striped M800 that I was already enjoying.  I guess it was the thrill of the hunt that got to me.

For a year and a half I haven’t bought any new pens, thinking I’ve achieved a kind of inner peace. The two pens I mentioned above have almost seriously derailed that inner peace. Sometimes I think I have too many pens already. I really should enjoy what I already have, until a more reasonably-priced new pen comes along.