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!


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


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.


Scribe. Photo by Mona Caccam.


Everything Calligraphy. Photo by Iya Buzeta-Acero.


Pengrafik. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.


The Curious Artisan. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


Bags by Rubbertree. Photo by Kailash Ramchandani.


Horology Matters. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


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


Cars and Calibres display. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


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.


Raffle. Photo by Ticky Tabujara.


Leigh Reyes. Photo by Chito Gregorio.

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


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.


Photo by Leigh Reyes


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!





















Nakaya Neo-standard in Unpolished Shu, from

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 (, 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.



I celebrated my birthday several days ago, and we’re into the New Year. Every time my birthday comes I register the fact that my age is advancing and yet I don’t feel any older.

One day a few years ago, while powdering my nose at a hotel ladies’ room, I discovered lines under my eyes. The halogen room lighting wasn’t kind; all of a sudden I was confronted with physical age. In a few minutes I passed through the stages of panic, sorrow and regret (at not using eye cream or under-eye concealer or specific anti-aging products) straight onto resignation and acceptance. It was painful, because there was no denying I was in mid-life, and there was no unseeing what I had just seen. But then I had also just been to my high school reunion last December, and was comforted to discover that all of my classmates had lines under their eyes, too. While I have a few horizontal lines across my neck, at least I had no lines on my forehead or between my brows. I still don’t use eye cream, rarely use under-eye concealer and have no dedicated anti-aging products. My skin is dry, but it’s in relatively good shape. I don’t wear heavy makeup.

I didn’t have that kind of reaction to when I started getting white hairs. It’s so easy to have one’s hair colored. There have been times I wished I didn’t have to go to the salon to maintain my hair color. I do feel that I’m too young to go fully grey, though. I read somewhere that I should only go grey when my white hairs regrow in less than a month after coloring, or that I should be 75% grey already, something like that. Then I came across this video:

The thing is, I don’t feel old. I’m reasonably active and can still touch my toes at yoga. There are times I don’t feel young, either (when my energy is low and I’m hormonal). My friends are having grandchildren. I don’t have children, so I can only imagine how it feels. As Carrie Fisher said, “Youth and beauty aren’t accomplishments. They’re the happy by-product of age and/or DNA.” I like to think I’ve come to terms with my mid-life body, the way I think and the person I am at this age. And I still like myself. There are still so many things to do, there’s little time for mourning years and youth that have gone.

It’s a new year, hopefully with good new things in store for us all.

Daily Prompt: Gone


Christmas is a time for gratitude.  We are grateful we are alive, we are grateful for the things we have received or enjoyed, for the people we share our lives with. I want to thank in particular those people who have made Christmas possible for us – the ones who work during the holidays so that we could celebrate it at home with our families.

I’m sharing this video because I remember what it’s like to work weekends and holidays. I used to work in fashion retail, and Christmas was our busiest time. The malls would be milling with people, our feet would hurt, but we’d still try to get through it all, smiling. I’m glad I don’t have to do it now, but I appreciate those who do. A blessed Christmas to all of you.



Last Friday I had a moment of panic, and asked my father if he had ordered the turkey for Christmas Eve dinner yet. Christmas Eve dinner is the big Christmas moment in the Philippines, oddly more than Christmas Day itself. He texted back, “I ordered early but they haven’t confirmed my order yet. Do you have another supplier?” I didn’t have one, and I had to go online to check out caterers. Fortunately he texted back a couple of hours later that our order was taken and was told when we could pick it up. We went to all this trouble because our oven thermostat is unreliable and can’t handle a roast. I heaved a sigh of relief. I could – maybe – relax a bit.

Do I feel prepared for this holiday season? Every year I feel unprepared. There always seems to be something left unbought, some place left unreserved, something left unordered. I’ve listed down the menu for Christmas and New Year meals. I’ll be paying a visit to the deli tomorrow. This year, though, I’ve managed to get some things done early. I’ve made reservations for my birthday lunch at the neighborhood Japanese restaurant, for the end of the year. There have been times in the past when I left it too late, and all the restaurants I wanted to dine at were fully booked. I’ve also remembered to order my birthday cake from our baker neighbor. My only problem now is where we’ll eat dinner on January 1, when many malls are closed. I’m sure we’ll think of a place in time.

I haven’t even watched Star Wars: Rogue One yet.

A part of me wants to stay in bed and hide under the covers, but adulting is necessary this Christmas, so yes, I’ll have that coffee now.

Daily Prompt: Relax



Last night, my family and I went to see the Manila Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, at the Meralco Theater. It was my first concert in years (the last time I watched one was in 2008, I think), and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

We got good seats, since my sister bought the tickets way back in October (for a 25% discount!). We were near the front, on the left side of the theater, with a good view of everything.

It was good to hear Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in its entirety.  Of course, everyone is familiar with the melody of “Ode to Joy” (taken from a poem written by Friedrich Schiller), the climactic last movement. The first part of the symphony had a lot of stirring piano.  The middle, the Adagio, had a moving, tender theme expressed by violins.  When “Ode to Joy” came along, we were treated to a choir (made up of smaller choirs) and guest soloists, in a rousing, uplifting, triumphant wall of sound.  This earned the orchestra and singers a standing ovation.

Sitting near the front, I was able to observe the different musicians closely.  One cellist’s bow had a broken string.  The percussionist playing the triangle was very precise, you could still hear the triangle above the cymbals. The Japanese pianist played with confidence and verve, it was a pleasure to see her perform.  Watching the conductor and his movements was fascinating; he had excellent control over the entire score.

If the theater had been any further away from our house I don’t think we would have braved the traffic to see the concert.  As it was we were able to get to the theater in 30 minutes. There are so many good concerts being shown nowadays. But I was happy to see this one; it stirred my heart. It was a rare treat.





There is this unpleasant woman from our church who tries to bully my mother into doing things for her. My mother is a sweet old thing who is gracious to everybody and tries to help people in need. She attracts her fair share of crackpots and people who try to take advantage of her generosity. This woman was a former student of my mother’s. She was a former activist and feminist writer who has managed to alienate everyone she associates with, by dint of being a pushy, whiny bully. Of course she believes, when she is in one of her campaigns, that she is doing the world a lot of good, so she is actually clueless about her lack of social skills.

Anyway, this unpleasant woman tried to invite herself to our house, because she wanted to swim at the condominium’s pool.  My mother said, “I’m sorry, but I’ll be out today.”  She insisted – how about tomorrow, then? My mother said she was going to attend a Christmas party and will be out all day too.  “Shall I meet you at the party or at your house?” she insisted. My mother did not reply.  Finally that night the woman called our house, to insist on coming. My mother said, “I’m sorry, it’s not convenient for my family.” When pressed what “not convenient” meant, my mother said, “My family doesn’t want you to come.” (Nobody in our family likes her. Why should we have to entertain her?) The woman even had the gall to be affronted, as though it were her right to be at our house. “What kind of people are you anyway?” My mother put the phone down. I was damned proud of her at that moment. Later I checked her phone and saw texts from the woman, one of which said, “Do you even believe in karma?”  I deleted it. I don’t care what her agenda was. She has no business messing with my mother.

This woman has no boundaries whatsoever. She gossips about other people and their families, criticizes everything, and yet does not wonder why her own children wouldn’t even put up with her. People meeting her for the first time would do well to flee. She likes to call my mother and dump the day’s bad vibes on her, believing they are close friends. My mother is always polite, but she can say no.  This woman doesn’t always succeed in making my mother do things, fortunately.  She is toxic. She is a harpy.

As I wrote in a previous post, I try to practice compassion – to think of the other person’s position, in order to understand their motivations.  This woman is very unhappy, obviously. She lives alone, her husband having left her. Her children do not spend time with her.  She likes to participate in grand causes, like campaigning against noise pollution in the city, or campaigning against the cutting of trees along the highway. It gives her something to do. But what she does is harangue people in order to get her way. My mother gets things done in the “catch more flies with honey than vinegar” way. Guess who people prefer to be with.

I know it’s good to be kind, but we’re no pushovers. We’ve bought books from her, even overpriced magazines, in order to help her, but inviting herself to our house when we don’t even want to be in the same room with her is the last straw.  When she tries to call again and I’m the one who answers, I’ll tell her off myself.

Daily Prompt: Flee