horses and hopia at escolta

Tuesday, Feb. 12, was the big day of this week – the day that I picked up the vintage gold Parker 75 Milleraies from the talyer!

A friend received the pen as a gift in the ‘80s and passed it on to me. It was in very bad shape inside. So we took it to Luis Store along Escolta, hoping they could fix it.

Terrie Pua, daughter of store founder Luis Pua, assured me that yes, they could replace the entire inner assembly of the pen. She told us to return after ten days.

So we went back to Escolta last Tuesday. Before picking up the pen, we had lunch at Savory Restaurant on the corner. My friend remembers attending banquets there on an upper floor back in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I didn’t see any access to an upper floor; all the diners were seated at round tables on the ground floor. The décor was seedy Chinese-resto, but had the aura of age and history giving it authenticity. The Savory Fried Chicken is delectable and tender.

Right next door to Savory was a lotto outlet, where we stopped to buy tickets. Beside that was an OTB (horse racing off-track betting station), still closed as weekday races don’t start until 6pm. Not too far away, several college students were squatting on the sidewalk; one was reading the Dividendazo. We looked over his shoulder when we spotted the familiar layout of the racing form.

After lunch we dropped by Polland Bakery next door. The façade is the usual concrete box with glass windows, but the doors boast a pleasant surprise – rough old wood with dragon-head brass knockers serve as handles.

Inside, chinoiserie scattered here and there lend the place a special charm. The shelves are filled with tikoy (for the Lunar New Year), hopia (ube, red mongo, pork, other flavors), lowa, peanut cakes, haw flakes, and other baked goods.


Along Escolta Street, past and present exist side by side, with horse-drawn carriages rolling along beside Toyotas.


Being taga-karera, anything to do with horses fascinates me. This one’s a nativo. Put this carriage driver beside a thoroughbred and he’d just come up to its withers.


At Luis Store, Terrie, Rose, and their mother Mrs. Pua proudly presented me with my refurbished Parker. “Blue or black ink?” asked Terrie. “Blue, please,” I said, and watched as she dipped the pen nib-first into an ink bottle and squeezed three times. “Wait five seconds for the ink to rise into the sac,” she instructed. She also advised that any bottled ink I own be filtered through a fine cloth every six months to remove sediment.


When the sac was full, Terrie wiped the nib on a tissue and handed me the pen. With a new 14-karat extra-fine gold nib, clip, top tassie, grip, and aerometric fill system, it writes like a dream. “Use it everyday,” she said. “That way the nib will conform to your writing style.” I promised to do so, and before we left, Mrs. Pua pressed candies upon us.


It was a sweet day.

taste more:

3 Comments on horses and hopia at escolta

  1. jerome
    19 April 2008 at 8:06 am (4463 days ago)

    do they sell delta fountain pen at luis store? thanks

  2. Vito
    5 September 2008 at 5:47 am (4325 days ago)

    I just want to share my experience regarding Luis Store in Escolta Manila.
    I went there to have my sheaffer ink converter fixed (cracked rubber ink tube). I was entertained by the thinner lady.
    1. I showed her the pen and the converter
    2. She showed me a converter for my pen. It had a clear rubber tubing. She was demostrating to me that it has no leak and the suction is good.
    3. She turn her back on me to probably insert the converter then went to another room then went back to me to put ink in the pen. I have noticed that the ink bottle before hand was already on the counter
    4. She demostrated to me how to fill the ink properly (after pressing and releasing the converter that i have to wait for 5 seconds for the tube to be filled.)
    5. Then she immediately tried writing with the pen. It skipped so she hinted that i should have it repaired (380 pesos). I told her that i’ll just test the pen first and have it serviced if the problem persisted. I paid for the new converted (530 pesos), asked for my old converter and went home.
    6. When i was at my house i wrote with the pen. At first the ink really skipped but after sometime it was writting smoothly.
    7. I inspected the converter and what i noticed was that the rubber tube was different from what the lady showed me at the shop and there were dirt on its side and looks old. It was clearly not the converter the the lady showed me at the shop.
    Lesson i learned:
    1. Always ask for reciept. They never offered to give me one, and i was dumb enough no to ask for it.
    2. Never have your pen be handled by anyone, unless you are having it for service. I was buying for a converter. It seems that they are messing the pen so that you’ll have them service it.
    3. Swapping items at stores exist. Inspect the item you are buying before hand and inspect them again before you leave. And it unsatisfied be vocal about it.

    I am sharing this so that other dumb people like me will not fall for this swapping item thing.

  3. Manuel Escasa
    8 April 2010 at 5:46 am (3745 days ago)

    I have had good and bad experiences with Luis Store. I have not been there in a long time, but about 18 years ago, I bought a Parker 75 nib. I asked how much; the guy’s body language should have given me a hint that something was up. He gave a figure to which I assented. Some months later, I found the same spare part selling in National Bookstore for 1/5 the price I paid. Ripoff City! But I should also have been more careful. C’est la vie.

    BY the way, they used to have a “receipt” policy — You want a receipt, you pay 10% more.

    As I said, I haven’t been there for some time. I still hope to go back but more alert.

Leave a Reply