The Manila Pen Show 2023 was the Filipino fountain pen lovers’ most awaited event in the last four years! Organized by Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, Inc., the show went on hiatus from 2020-2022 during the pandemic. It came back this year, bigger than ever, with a bigger floor space, more new retailers, and more products. Held last March 18-19, 2023, the show marked its second time at the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn and Suites in Makati. Part of the proceeds from entrance fees this year go to Save The Children, which the Manila Pen Show has been supporting since 2018.

Eager attendees showed up and registered as early as 8am, when the show opened, and continued to arrive in a steady stream until late afternoon of both days. They received samples of the new Sanzen Tomoe River paper in white and cream, as well as a raffle ticket. They were keen to acquire the show-exclusive pens and inks from various vendors following the theme of Filipino flavors. These items were made available for preorder or to purchase directly at the site. Also popular were show merchandise like commemorative t-shirts, tote bags and notepads. The organizers also held several raffles on both days of the show.

Photo by Yancy P. Sura
Registration. Photo by Ricaredo Cerebo, Jr.
Photo by Kailash Ramchandani
Photo by Reggie Reginaldo

International vendors participating this year included Aesthetic Bay (Singapore), Pen Gallery (Malaysia), Straits Pen (Singapore), Toyooka Craft (Japan) and Atelier Musubi (Singapore). Philippine vendors included Everything Calligraphy, Scribe, Kasama, Lamy, Stationer Extraordinaire, Inks by Vinta, ON Inks, Pengrafik, Peter Bangayan, Leather Library, Gav n Sav, Gira Leather, Leather Luxe, Guia’s Vintage Pens, and Troublemaker Inks.

Floor plan

This year the show assigned a separate space for participating nibmeisters John Raymond Lim, JP’s Pen Spa & Nib Works, and Sunny Koh of Straits Pen (SG). There was also a Community Hangout Room where members of Fountain Pen Network-Philippines held pen meets, enjoyed the free coffee and tea, and rested in between purchases. Workshops were held in a dedicated function room on the other end of the floor.

Ronin Bautista of The Pen Noob captured the energy of the Manila Pen Show’s first day in this Instagram reel.
Day 1 of the Manila Pen Show 2023. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Mark del Rosario (R) and Alvin Arcillas (L) of Kasama. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Kasama Tala pens in “Takipsilim”. Photo by Kasama PH.
Kasama Una pens in PEEK and titanium. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Kustom Magz rollstops for Kasama pens. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Kailash Ramchandani of Pengrafik. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Pengrafik’s pen show exclusive Leonardo Momento Zero in Primary Manipulation 1 by Jonathan Brooks. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Pengrafik’s pen show exclusive Ube Pen by The Good Blue (UK). Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Ingrid Cua of Stationer Extraordinaire. Photo by Jeff Cua.
Kaweco pens from Stationer Extraordinaire. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Alden Castaneda and colleague. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
Alden Castaneda‘s corner.
Handbound luxe notebooks by Atelier Musubi. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Seigaiha pattern pen cases from Atelier Musubi. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Daryl Lim of Atelier Musubi. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
Vinta Inks show exclusive ink Lilac Dawn 2015, or “Simulan”. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Jillian Tan of Everything Calligraphy. Photo by Ronin Bautista.
Everything Calligraphy bundled its pen show exclusive Franklin Christoph pen with Vinta Inks’ Lilac Dawn 2015/Simulan.
Kim Hoong Lai of PenGallery (MY). Photo by PenGallery.
Various pens and inks from PenGallery. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
April Morales of Leather Library PH. Photo by Eliza Rehal.
Embossed leather folio covers from Leather Library PH. Photo by Gema Gonzales.
Toyooka Craft (JP). Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Toru Yamazaki of Toyooka Craft, with Hana Chua. Photo by Hana Chua.
Multi-level alder wood fountain pen box by Toyooka Craft. Photo by Micah Robles.
Tan Fong Kum of Aesthetic Bay. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Nakayas at Aesthetic Bay (SG). Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
AP Limited Editions at Aesthetic Bay. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
ON Inks show exclusives. Photo by Onie Dychitan.
Onie Dychitan and Alma Polvoriza at ON Inks. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
ON Inks and swatches.
Diamine Suman, from Peter Bangayan’s booth. Photo by Leigh Reyes.
Peter Bangayan‘s booth. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
Troublemaker Inks. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
Troublemaker Inks. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Lara M. Telan (left) of Gav n Sav, with Gema Gonzales. Photo by Bernie Paras Gan.
Suman pen wraps from Gav n Sav. Photo by Jun Castro.
Guia’s Vintage Pens. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Guia Bengzon of Guia’s Vintage Pens. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Some of Guia’s Vintage Pens. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Gira Leather. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Various products at Gira Leather. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Nibmeister Sunny Koh of Straits Pen (SG) with assistant AD Percal. Photo by AD Percal.
Sunny Koh of Straits Pen in action. Photo by Ronin Bautista.
Sunny Koh of Straits Pen (SG) offered nibmeister services, as well as a pen show exclusive ink, Honest Ink Sisig, and Tomoe River paper. He also conducted a couple of workshops.
JP Reinoso of JP’s Pen Spa and Nibworks. Photo by Ronin Bautista.
Nibmeister JP Reinoso of JP’s Pen Spa and Nibworks.Photo by JP Reinoso.
Nibmeister John Raymond Lim. Photo by Alby Saavedra Laran.
John Raymond Lim. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Raymund Nino Bumatay of Leather Luxe.
Raymund and Gjulia Bumatay of Leather Luxe.
Lamy Safari Pilipinas pen at the Lamy booth. Photo by Carlo Jerome Ng.
Lamy Philippines. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.
Lamy Safari Pilipinas pens. Photo by Carlo Jerome Ng.
Red Lamy Safari display. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Scribe. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Scribe owner Marian Ong, Sailor Ink Master Hidetoshi Takahashi and Tetsuo Hisaka, and Scribe staff. Photo by Scribe.
Laban and Pelikan pens at Scribe. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Taccia Pens at Scribe. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.

Scribe brought in Sailor’s custom ink mixing service, represented by Ink Master Hidetoshi Takahashi and colleague Tetsuo Hisaka. Slots were by appointment, and filled up fast prior to the show. It was an unforgettable experience for those who chose special colors.

Scribe owner Marian Ong with Ink Master Hidetoshi Takahashi and Tetsuo Hisaka of Sailor.
Sailor Ink Masters. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Happy ink mix customer Gianna with Sailor.

Here are videos of the Sailor ink mixing process.

Takahashi-san formulating the color. Video by Carlo Jerome Ng.
Takahashi-san finalizing the color. Video by Carlo Jerome Ng.
Takahashi-san blending the ink. Video by Carlo Jerome Ng.
Day 2 of the Manila Pen Show 2023. Photo by Maria Haze Alenton.
Ronin Bautista of The Pen Noob filmed Day 2 of the show, focusing on the workshops and flow of attendees.
Lorraine Castaneda’s workshop participants. Photo by Lorraine Castaneda.
Sunny Koh’s workshop participants. Photo by Lorraine Castaneda.
Toni Santos’ workshop participants. Photo by Lorraine Castaneda.
Imma Frias conducting workshop. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.
Panel discussion moderated by Leigh Reyes. Photo by JM Jamillarin.
Panoramic shot of panel by Lorraine Castaneda.
Curating A Fountain Pen Collection, panel discussion.

All told, about 1200 people attended the Manila Pen Show 2023, including the vendors, guests and volunteers. Many thanks to organizers Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, Inc., the various vendors, Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, and especially the volunteers for making this event a huge success! Thank you to everyone who attended, whose donations benefited Save The Children. We’ll see you at the next Manila Pen Show in 2024!

For updates, follow @manilapenshow on Instagram, and join the Facebook groups Manila Pen Show and Fountain Pen Network-Philippines.

Save The Children. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


Finally, after three long years, the Manila Pen Show is back! This year it will be held on March 18-19, 2023 at the Holiday Inn & Suites Makati.

Here is the list of participating vendors/service providers at the show:

Here’s the schedule of activities for the show:

There will be an entrance fee for each day of the show. People may pay at the gate in cash, or use GCash or BPI QR Code. Each entrance fee comes with a raffle ticket! Proceeds from the show will go to Save The Children, which the Manila Pen Show has been supporting since 2018.

See you there! Follow the @manilapenshow on Instagram, or join Manila Pen Show group on Facebook.



This year marks the 10th anniversary of Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, and what better way to celebrate than to hold the first ever Manila 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.



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.



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.


10th Anniversary Pen. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.

Sponsors for the Manila 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).


Cross Philippines.


Montblanc Philippines.




Gav n Sav.


Guia’s Vintage Pen Corner.


Faber-Castell Philippines.

Photos above by Tintin Pantoja.


Scribe. Photo by Mark Tiangco.


Troublemaker Inks.


Straits Pen of Singapore.


Shibui PH.




Kasama PH.


Everything Calligraphy.


Lamy Philippines.


The paper bar.

Photos above by Ronin Bautista.


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


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



Calligraphy Workshop. Photo by Mark Tiangco.


Calligraphy Workshop. Photo by Rica Palomo-Espiritu.


Leather pen case workshop. Photo by Ronin Bautista.


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 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!



Noodler’s fountain pen inks are now available in Manila, exclusively at Scribe Writing Essentials!  This news has made so many members of our pen club, Fountain Pen Network-Philippines, very happy.

I am not affiliated with Scribe, nor am I paid by them to announce this – this is by way of a public service announcement for fountain pen lovers interested in buying Noodler’s inks in Manila.  Each bottle costs PhP 595 (for 3oz. weight of ink (about 80-90ml?).  That’s just a bit over USD 13, inclusive of local taxes. To figure out what ink you’re interested in, here’s a link to Noodler’s Ink Properties.  You can also view individual reviews on the global Fountain Pen Network’s Index of Ink Reviews, before you buy.

If you’d like to contact Scribe directly, here are the contact numbers:  (632) 900-0053 (Eastwood Mall, QC), (632) 654-5071 (Shangri-la East Wing, Mandaluyong) and (632) 386-4826 (Glorietta 5, Makati).  Or you can call Cindy Fulo at 0998-9983998 for more information.

Yes, I ordered my favorite color, Noodler’s Army Green (a nice olive green-khaki color), because it’s not in the current batch of ink being sold.  I got a bottle a few years ago from my cousin in the US, and was worried about where I’d get another one when it ran out.  Now that Noodler’s is in Manila, I can buy other colors I’ve been interested in as well!



Back in February I wrote about the refillable leather Victoria’s Journal.  The same brand has these cahier-style notebooks in packs of two.  Each notebook has 80 pages of cream-colored paper, and has a sewn binding. They’re smaller than A5 size, around 13cm wide by 19cm tall (about 5 1/8 by 7 7/16 inches).


They’re PhP 99 (just over USD 2) per pack of two notebooks, at National Bookstore (their exclusive distributor).  For the life of me I can’t figure out if this is meant to fit into a leather notebook cover, but I would love to know if it does.  There doesn’t seem to be any such matching refillable cover on sale, alas.

The wonderful thing is that it has fountain pen-friendly paper!  (“80 gsm, lined pages, wood-free cream paper”)  Well, for most fountain pens with F or M nibs, that is.  I’m not sure it’s thick enough or sized enough to take on wet B nibs or flex nibs, but for every day use, this passes muster.  Only Herbin Lie de The had the teeniest bit of feathering.  I wouldn’t say totally no bleedthrough, but yes, you can write on both pages and read what you’ve written without irritating marks getting in the way.  Here’s a photo of the ink test page.


Victoria’s Journals brand notebooks are “Designed in Italy, Made in PRC”.  They’re not cheap, but they’re really affordably priced, and stylish.  Would I buy these again?  Seeing as there are very few locally available brands of this price point  (much lower than Clairefontaine and Rhodia) that are fountain pen-friendly, definitely.  I still wish there was a leather cover product to match.   This doesn’t stop me from hunting down other fountain pen-friendly brands, though.  National Bookstore cannot guarantee that certain product lines remain permanently stocked, or that the same quality item can be sourced from their suppliers in the future.  We can always hope.

I am not affiliated with National Bookstore except as a regular customer.  The items being reviewed are my own purchases.



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.


Happy Chinese New Year!  I know most of you already have 2013 diaries and journals, but I discovered a leather journal recently that can give the Midori Traveler’s Notebook a run for its money.  The thing that confused me about is that it’s called a Pelle Leather Journal, by Victoria’s Journals, but it’s not the Pelle Leather Journal you know of in the US, that directly competes against Midori.  From this point for purposes of clarity I’ll be referring to it as the VJ.


Regardless of branding, the important thing to me was that the VJ is made of real leather.  I found them in Bestsellers (a National Bookstore branch at the Podium in Ortigas Center), each in their own black box.  I got one in brown.


Each journal fits three 9 x 14cm (roughly 3.5″ x 5.5″) notebooks: a to-do planner, a lined notebook and a blank notebook.  There are Venzi flexi 2 notebooks (also made by Victoria’s Journals, available at National Bookstore) that can be used as refills in case you can’t find notebooks to fit.  As for me, I make my own refills, because that means I can choose the paper quality – must be fountain pen ink-friendly!



And this paper is friendly, as long as you don’t use a B nib that’s an overly wet writer.  There’s not much bleedthrough or showthrough at all. Imagine that!  I haven’t been buying notebooks in a long time because I don’t like spending money and then finding out the paper only takes ballpoint ink.


Here it is, with my Waterman’s Ideal No. 3 set.  And below, a comparison shot with my passport-sized Midori:


The feel of the Midori leather is a bit more luxurious.  It takes distressing well.  The Victoria’s Journal journal is a little stiffer.  I like the leather clasp that holds the covers together, it doesn’t dent the cover as much as the plain elastic does.  Also, the inside elastic fastenings don’t require much fiddling with.

I posted this on the Fountain Pen Network-Philippines Facebook page, and sort of caused a shopping frenzy.  Why?  Because compared to the Midori (about USD55) this VJ journal costs only P590 (about USD15)!  My friends and I found out that there are three colors:  Black, Brown and Maroon.  If you want your own and it hasn’t been sold out yet, the magic stock number is 103722 at National Bookstore.  Call them and reserve the item, before visiting.


The Midori is made in Thailand.  The VJ  box is marked “Styled in Italy.  Made in PRC.”  So yes,  it’s made in China, even though they very cleverly try not to point that fact out.  At least every part of it looks well made for the price.

To my friends in the US, the Victoria’s Journal site only sells to the trade, I believe.  You’ll have to look for the item in your stationery store (although the site indicates they sell this item in the US).   The Pelle Journal that’s competing against the Midori (see links above) is a quality product and you can’t go wrong with either brand.


midori-06The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is one of those things you end up coveting when you’re into fountain pens, typewriters and other analog means of organizing your thoughts.  I first saw the standard size version reviewed on Black Cover.  Pictured above is the passport-sized one, in brown.  It’s small and handy enough to fit into any handbag.  I found the larger version to be rather long and narrow for my taste.

midori-02It came in its own cheesecloth bag, with some information in Japanese and in English.  There was also an extra elastic strap included, in case you wanted to add some refills to the existing one.
midori-03The leather cover is made in Thailand.  It’s the kind of finish that looks better and better the more used and distressed it gets.  The roughly 9cm x 12.5cm refill notebook paper is thin, but fountain pen friendly (if your pen is not an overly wet writer).  The orange refill in the photo is a DIY one I made out of 220gsm cardstock and 100gsm copy paper.

I tested my pens and inks on a back page.  While you can see the writing on the other side, there is absolutely no feathering or bleedthrough of ink.

You can fit two refills on the existing elastic.  To fit more refills/accessories in the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, check out the tips on the Scription blog.

I bought the Midori Traveler’s Notebook from Scribe Writing Essentials (3/F Eastwood Mall, Quezon City).  I believe they are the exclusive distributors of Midori products (including refills and accessories) in the Philippines.  It’s a little pricey, but I think it’s worth it, being real leather and handsome-looking.


I am not affiliated with Scribe Writing Essentials except as a customer.