Last Christmas, I bought a limited edition Lamy Safari fountain pen, followed by a Pilot Cocoon and a few samples of inks from friends. I got hooked and started writing on fountain pens 80% of the time. Since I missed the first-ever Manila Pen Show, I told myself that I have to attend my first ever Pen Show after getting “pen-abled.”
The Manila Pen Show held its 2nd show from November 16 to 17 at the Holiday Inn Makati. This two-day event was participated by established manufacturers and retailers and up-and-coming artisans from the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. It was an intimate yet jam-packed affair where both new and experienced fountain pen enthusiasts gathered, socialized, and purchased their haul. Entrance is pegged at PHP200.
Online stationery distributor PenGrafik introduced newcomers to the Philippine fountain pen market: Hong Kong’s affordable luxury brand Pierre Cardin, who is well-known for its ready-to-wear menswear and Canada’s Ferris Wheel Press, whose product designs are like magic, were also present.
The country’s premier fountain pen maker Kasama Pens brought some samples of their flagship model Una and their new sleeker model Tala. Their pens made of sturdy materials such as Ultem with titanium, copper, brass, aluminum, and Kamagong were a hit among the enthusiasts.
Singaporean artisan and businessman Daryl Lim of Musubi sold lovely kimono journals made of Tomoe River paper and vintage kimono sourced from Japan. “Some of the kimonos we use were made between 120 to 200 years ago” according to Lim. Maybe, I can pay him a visit to his shop when I go to Singapore in a few days. PenGallery of Malaysia sold budget-friendly stationery with Tomoe River paper.
Local leather crafter Shibui, spearheaded by couple Arnold and Melissa Pabiloña-Ang was all smiles during the event. Shibui’s leather pen and journal cases are popular with both old and new customers because they look classy and sturdy.
Liverpool-based ink maker Diamine created and sold an event-exclusive blend of ink inspired by the Philippine flag colors called “Archipelago” while Straits Pen of Singapore also sold their event-exclusive ink Mani-Lah, inspired by our favorite Holiday staple Puto Bumbong and the Singaporean conversational expression. Troublemaker Inks flew all the way from Cebu along with their “ink bar” paraphernalia complete with their bartender ensemble.
Vinta Inks offered discounts including their best-selling Carlos 1960 (emerald green) and Dugong Bughaw 1521 (blue with red sheen).
Aesthetic Bay of Singapore was also at the event selling top of the line Nakaya and Pilot Pens. They also provided great stories behind those pens and how the business started. Major brands and retailers such as Cross, Lamy, Faber Castell, Everything Calligraphy, and Scribed provided event-exclusive discounts.
During the event, fountain pen technicians Jose Reinoso, John Raymond Lim, Sunny Koh of Straits Pen, and Ralph Reyes provided nib grinding services. Seminars and workshops were held at the function room including Dr. Butch Dalisay’s talk about vintage pens.
Overall, the Manila Pen Show was a major success even though it is just in its sophomore year. The organizers were so accommodating! They even shared their own stories whenever they have time. A few lucky ticket holders won generous prizes at the event. Best of all, the venue offered FREE coffee and tea! I can no longer ask for more from these guys.
However, the venue was small and it got too crowded on both afternoons. The workshops were also a bit compressed due to time constraints. Also, expect to have a hole in your pocket because the event is like a candy bar for stationery enthusiasts – you would want to buy everything! Pre-order if given an option of a great deal. I guess I am one of the many fountain pen collectors who’s looking forward to the Manila Pen Show next year!