I’ve been on the lookout for a locally-made, fountain pen ink-friendly notebook for the longest time.  I’ve tried a number of notebooks, most of them imported, and find the cost deterring.  I don’t really care for some carefully crafted romantic marketing image, and some of you may know what I’m talking about.  I’m after a paper that reliably handles fountain pen ink without feathering or bleedthrough, where I can write on both sides of the paper.  Eventually it becomes an expensive exercise to buy and buy notebooks only to be disappointed.

At a recent pen meet I was given an Ecothings Notebook by a friend.  The first page says, “You are holding a product that is kind to our Earth.  Your notebook is made using recyclable materials and recycled paper that is acid and other toxic elements free, using soya ink and guaranteed 100% biodegradable materials.  Negative free print process.  We are proud to be green and proud to be Filipino-made.”  (I’d have taken a photo, but the fonts were too thin.) Earth-friendly, fountain pen-friendly and made locally!  What more can I ask for?


The notebook I received had mauve paper (alas), but I have seen others with cream-colored paper.  It’s available in blank, lined, and dot grid paper, as far as I know.  The important thing is that IT PASSED MY INK TEST! No feathering, no bleedthrough.  The paper is not slippery, but neither does it have drag.  The sizing of this paper is just right for fountain pen use.  The mauve paper doesn’t really show ink colors that well, but I’m sure the cream-colored paper does.  At this point I shall disclose that I don’t know how much this notebook costs since I got it as a gift, but I’m sure it doesn’t cost as much as Overhyped Romantic Marketing Notebook does (wink, wink).  Since I like to support Filipino products I’m sure the price is worth it.

I’m definitely buying a couple of notebooks with the cream paper soon.  Here’s a link to some photos on Facebook.  They are “available at Fully Booked stores, Sketchbook (Greenbelt 3), Scribe Writing Essentials (Eastwood), and ECHOstore (Podium and Serendra)”.

Addendum:  The notebook pictured above is P360.



Few things give me greater joy than to resurrect something and make it useful again.  You can’t blame me for having a soft spot for these frankenpens – fountain pens cobbled together from various spare parts of the same model.   At the top is a Parker 51 demi with a vacumatic filler with the engraving “Josephine O’Hara”.  In the middle is a Sheaffer Craftsman lever-filler with an Admiral cap.  At the bottom is a Sheaffer thin model Touchdown.


These were created for me by a good friend, Tom Overfield, from spare parts in his pen repair cabinet.  The Parker 51 demi was a gift, in time for the first anniversary of our Manila pen group in 2009.  The other two were commissioned.  I had won a lot of three user-grade Sheaffers with slightly shrunken plastic barrels on eBay for a low price (the price of the 14k nibs alone was worth more than what I paid) and asked him if he could en-franken them.  I got a blue Sheaffer Craftsman lever-filler out of that, plus the two Sheaffers in the above photos.  I love them all.

Five years later, all are still in good condition.  None of the latex sacs or the seals have failed.  They’re not the handsomest pens in my little collection, but they do get a lot of love.  In fact, I use them quite often, even though I have other pens. I believe I got lucky with the quality of the nibs and feeds to begin with.

The term “frankenpen” doesn’t always have a good connotation.  It usually refers to pens that pretend to be the complete, original model (in order to sell at a higher price), when actually the parts are mismatched or come from different brands or even time periods.  These don’t pretend to be anything other than functional revivals of pre-loved vintage pens – they wear their colors proudly!  A number of us on FPN-Philippines own multi-colored frankenpens made by Tom, and we all cherish them deeply.  So much so they have been given unique names like Frankensnork (Leigh Reyes’ pen), Bride of Frankensnork (Caloy Abad Santos’ pen), Tuckenstein (a Tuckaway, Raffy Abrina’s pen), Thinenstein (Jenny Ortuoste’s thin Touchdown), Demistein (my Parker 51), etc.  Some of them are also with his friends in Europe and the USA.

If only some modern production pens wrote as well as these frankenpens!


I used to notice every little grammar or spelling lapse I read in my environment and online. I’ve done my share of correcting friends and family members, and have been corrected, too. I realize not everyone is a native English speaker, so I’ve become more relaxed about these things. I try to see if the content is interesting, and just focus on that. My particular peeve is text-speak, which is only appropriate on sms and not elsewhere. But somehow I feel that people should care about finding out whether if they’ve been expressing themselves correctly.

The Daily Post

For nearly two years, I’ve written posts about grammar and usage, so clearly it’s a topic that I think is important. Equally important, I think, is knowing when it’s appropriate to insist on proper grammar and how to go about it.

You hear of cases now and then in which people go into public and make a big show of correcting grammatical problems on signage. Take for example this instance that resulted in probation for two men who fixed the grammar on a sign at Grand Canyon National Park. The men in fact went on a nationwide crusade to fix public typos, as documented in an NPR story and a book.

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This WordPress blog used to be a mirror of my blog on Multiply, before they decided to reformat as a marketplace.  My photos prior to 2012 were hosted on Multiply, and as a consequence, I’ve lost those photos accompanying my old blog posts all the way from when I started.  I have the original photos, but it will take a while to re-upload those.  For the meantime I am reconstructing mostly pen, ink and paper-related entries, travel and food entries as far as I am able.  It’s a pain but please bear with me.

My entries for 2012 to present retain their photos, thankfully.


The mass exodus to the beach began during the Holy Week.  We decided to wait until after Easter, when there wouldn’t be such a big crowd.  We went to our favorite resort, Anvaya Cove, in Morong, Bataan.  We’ve been going there since 2011, as guests of a family friend who’s a member.  I wrote about our first trip here (with some nice photos).


We stayed two nights, three days.  Whereas before we spent most of our time at the beach or at the swimming pools, this time we decided to explore the rest of the resort.  On our second day we took an afternoon walk, and met a flock of ducks that lived near the resort’s man-made lake.

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2013-04-03-222xThe ducks were quite friendly and were probably used to being fed by visitors.  My 7-year-old niece tried to get as close as she could for this photo:

duckhunting DSCN4491xWe crossed a bridge and walked towards a lawn with small mango trees, and the ducks swam across the lake and followed us!  When they realized we weren’t going to feed them (we didn’t think to ask the Anvaya Cove staff what the rules were about feeding the ducks), they walked off to the clubhouse to importune some sympathetic visitors.

2013-04-03-223duckhunting DSCN4510xduckhunting DSCN4518xIt was quite funny to see the ducks all in a row 🙂  We walked back to our room in one of the casitas as the sun went down.

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I guess you can tell how well-managed a place is by its happy ducks! My sister, brother-in-law, niece and I had a grand time.