MANILA FOUNTAIN PEN SHOW 2018

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, and what better way to celebrate than to hold the first ever Manila Fountain Pen Show? In previous years FPN-P had been holding smaller pen sales events every Fountain Pen Day (first Friday of November), as if in preparation for this bigger event. The show was held at the SMX Convention Center in SM Aura, last Oct. 27, 2018.

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Photos by Mark Tiangco.

Long lines greeted us at the opening of the show, until about lunch time. It was heartening to know that there were a huge number of fountain pen enthusiasts waiting patiently to get in! Entrance was free, but donations were received at the gate for Save the Children.

Inside it was jam-packed. People crowded every booth, eager to take advantage of the promotions. All the workshop sessions were full.

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Photos by Ronin Bautista.

Special items exclusive to the pen show included the Manila Copper ink, mixed by Straits Pen of Singapore. Part of the proceeds of the ink sale were donated to Save the Children.

Photos by Leigh Reyes.

The Fountain Pen Network-Philippines 10th Anniversary fountain pen is an Edison Mina in tortoise acrylic. Remaining pieces from the original pre-order were sold at the pen show.

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10th Anniversary Pen. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

Sponsors for the Manila Fountain Pen Show included Cross Philippines, Montblanc Philippines, Pengrafik, Straits Pen of Singapore, Lamy Philippines, Everything Calligraphy, Noteworthy, Scribe, Faber-Castell Philippines, Troublemaker Inks, Parker Philippines, Philippine National Bank and Calibre Magazine. Other vendors/service providers included Kasama PH, Shibui PH, Gav n Sav, Guia’s Vintage Pen Corner, JP’s Pen Spa and Nibworks, and John Raymond Lim (nibmeister).

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Cross Philippines.

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Montblanc Philippines.

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Noteworthy.

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Gav n Sav.

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Guia’s Vintage Pen Corner.

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Faber-Castell Philippines.

Photos above by Tintin Pantoja.

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Scribe. Photo by Mark Tiangco.

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Troublemaker Inks.

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Straits Pen of Singapore.

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Shibui PH.

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Pengrafik.

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Kasama PH.

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Everything Calligraphy.

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Lamy Philippines.

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The paper bar.

Photos above by Ronin Bautista.

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JP’s Pen Spa and Nibworks (J.P. Reinoso).  Photo by Tin Marie Reyes Poral.

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John Raymond Lim (nibmeister). Photo by Edber Mamisao.

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Calligraphy Workshop. Photo by Mark Tiangco.

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Calligraphy Workshop. Photo by Rica Palomo-Espiritu.

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Leather pen case workshop. Photo by Ronin Bautista.

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Photo by Ronin Bautista. L-R: Butch Dalisay, Rica Espiritu, Arnell Ignacio, Teresita Herbosa, Marvic Leonen

A panel discussion was held toward the end of the day, on the topic “Why Fountain Pens?”. Among the speakers were collectors Prof. Jose “Butch” Dalisay, Jr., Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen, Atty. Teresita Herbosa (great-granddaughter of national hero Jose Rizal), artist Rica Palomo-Espiritu, and OWWA administrator Arnell Ignacio.

Here’s a Facebook video of Justice Marvic Leonen’s discussion. “We can choose the parts of life we can slow down. The fountain pen is my instrument of revolution to recapture my humanity.” And here’s a Facebook video of Butch Dalisay’s talk. “These pens are not just inscribers of words but are bearers of stories.” (Will add other videos to this blog as soon as they are processed.)

All in all, for a first pen show and a modestly sized one at that, the Manila Fountain Pen Show 2018 was successful and well-attended! Approximately 600 people attended the one-day show.  Everyone agreed that next year, the pen show should be in a bigger space, given the huge amount of interest in fountain pens, inks, stationery and accessories.

Many thanks to all the sponsors, the organizers, and the volunteers who made this pen show possible!

To see more photos and social media posts on the Manila Fountain Pen Show, use the hashtag #mnlfountainpenshow2018.

 

 

 

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FOUNTAIN PEN NETWORK-PHILIPPINES TENTH ANNIVERSARY

Way back in 2008, fourteen fountain pen enthusiasts and fellow members at the international Fountain Pen Network forums banded together and organized a local pen lovers’ group, now known as Fountain Pen Network-Philippines.

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Photo by June Dalisay.

Above are founder Jose (Butch) Dalisay Jr. and friends at the very first pen meet at his house at the University of the Philippines campus.

Fast-forward ten years later, and the group has grown from 14 to 5,800+ members on Facebook, with its own forums at http://www.fpn-p.org.

Earlier in the year, Peter Bangayan organized an FPN-P Tenth Anniversary Pen, made by Bexley. It’s the Corona model, except it is cartridge/converter and not a piston-filler. It came in two colors, blue and turquoise, with a special medallion in the finial produced by Juan Luis Faustmann, in a limited quantity. There was also a Tenth Anniversary Ink, made by Diamine, called Blue Orient, a turquoise with a red sheen. (Another anniversary pen, the Edison Mina in tortoise acrylic, is in the works, courtesy of Anthony Goquingco. This is for those who weren’t able to acquire the Bexley.)

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Photo by Rommel Bernardo.

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Photo by Shey Pia Abaya.

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Photo by Mona Caccam.

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Photo by Leigh Reyes.

Co-founder Leigh Reyes quickly booked a lovely function room/co-working space at 3rd Space Legaspi for July 7, 2018. It was well-attended, with new and old members mixing and trying each other’s pens and inks.  There was an ink bar courtesy of Leigh, plus a sales area for pen wraps by Lara Telan of Gav n Sav, and empty cigar boxes.  Video of ink bar by Ronin Bautista here.

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Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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Photo by IamLennie.

At around 4pm we held a raffle, with prizes contributed by longstanding sponsors Scribe, Times Trading (Lamy) , Pengrafik and Stationer Extraordinaire. The grand prize was a proudly Philippine-made pen, made by KasamaPH (IG: KasamaPH, Facebook: KasamaPH). It’s called the Una, because it’s the first model ever made in the Philippines.

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Photo by Michelle Suratos.

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Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

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Photo by Leigh Reyes.

Many thanks to Mark Tiangco for the delicious Quorn lasagna and nuggets, Babyruth Chuaunsu for the Sunkist drinks, and the various members who donated cakes and pastries for the event.  Thanks also to Vad Mayores of 3rd Space for making sure we were all comfortable at their venue.

Here’s to more years appreciating fountain pens!

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

SHOPPING MY STASH

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Yesterday I was cleaning my desk, and I found a Sheaffer Skripsert, a vintage cartridge fountain pen from the late 1950s. It was a gift to me, from a friend in the US. I looked around some more, and found my three Sheaffer No-Nonsense pens in a previously mislaid pen wrap – translucent purple, translucent grey, and red. The first two were from the 1990s, while the red was from the 1970s. Since they were discontinued about twenty years ago, I guess you could call them vintage. The purple one, in fact, was the first pen I ever bought with my first salary. I hadn’t seen them in over a year – I guess it was time to use them again.

I hadn’t bought a pen in a long time, because I (think I already) had all the significant pens in my usual price range, and couldn’t find any new ones that fascinated me. But seeing my old pens after a long time got me all thrilled all over again – I guess this is what’s called “shopping your stash”.

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The No-Nonsenses still had their original squeeze converters, but I was thinking I would buy modern Sheaffer twist converters in case the rubber in the squeeze converters eventually failed. I asked a friend how much the converter was at National Bookstore, and was astounded that it cost Php500, or roughly USD10. In contrast, a Faber-Castell (standard international) converter from Everything Calligraphy costs only Php120, or USD2.40. Another friend told me I could try fitting a standard international converter in the pens. Alas, while the nipple fit the diameter of the converter opening, the entire converter was too long for the barrel of the No-Nonsense. The modern Sheaffer twist converter from my Prelude fit it perfectly.

The No-Nonsenses have some of the best steel nibs I have ever experienced. I told myself this is the year I’m going to let these humble pens shine.

Daily Prompt: Shine

COLLECTING FOUNTAIN PENS

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Writing with fountain pens is a joy – the pen writes on its own weight, there’s no need for me to press down hard on the paper, and I can use any color ink I want. I have about eight pens inked in different colors at any given time, and use a different color each day when I write in my journal.

I have been collecting (or should I say, accumulating) fountain pens since 2008, but have been using them since 1986. I have about 35 pens of various ages, makes and prices. I don’t really have a focus, I just buy pens based on features that I like (eg.piston-filler or converter, German fine or Japanese medium nib, favorite brand, others). There was a time I was actively buying on eBay, even while worrying whether my pens would safely arrive in the post. Several brick-and-mortar and online stores for fine writing instruments have since opened in my country, which made shopping a lot easier. I joined online fora and Facebook groups catering to my hobby (I even moderate one), where everyone enabled everyone else on their purchases. For some people, the retail therapy can be addicting (“I must have ALL the colors of the Lamy Safari!”). Fortunately, that isn’t the case with me.

I stopped buying on eBay, because the retail stores that opened locally allowed me to handle pens I was curious about. I also didn’t relish the idea of customs fees being charged “creatively” at the post office for purchases made online (after having heard all the horror stories). I stopped buying the cheap and cheerful pens, opting to upgrade to better-made, higher-quality ones. I even sold off a lot of vintage pens, just to be rid of the maintenance required.

I still haven’t broken the USD 250 ceiling. To me, any pen beyond that point may have more expensive materials and be more decorative, but may not guarantee a better writing performance. I’d also be worried about using such an expensive pen outside of the house, where it may be lost or stolen. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from admiring my grail pen, a Pelikan M910 Toledo. I get to handle it whenever some friends of mine and I have a pen meet. I admire it, but I don’t feel bad that I don’t own it and can’t afford it.

The last pen I bought was an Edison Pearl in Cumberland ebonite, with a 1.1mm stub, the 7th anniversary pen of Fountain Pen Network-Philippines. That was in 2015. I haven’t bought anything since then. Apart from a self-imposed moratorium on spending (2016 was the year of expensive dental work), I couldn’t find any pens in the USD 100 to 250 range that I didn’t already have, that I wanted. I finally achieved (as we liked to joke in FPN-P) “inner peace”. It’s 2017, and so far I haven’t been tempted by any new pen, except perhaps for the Faber-Castell Ambition in coconut wood.

I’m not in any rush to get a new pen, so far I have been enjoying the ones that I have.

Daily Prompt: Tempted