pens in manila

Are there still fountain pens to be found in the wild – in Manila?

Fountain Pen Network-Philippines members went to find that out last February 21, with a field trip to Escolta.

Escolta is part of “old Manila” and used to be the main shopping district from pre-war times until around the 1960s. Luis Store, a fountain pen sales-and-repair shop, has been located there since the 1940s. The plan was to meet up at Savory Restaurant at the corner of Escolta – another local landmark – then visit Luis and any other places that happened to catch our fancy.

On my way there in a cab, I saw many things. The sight of a Philippine flag flying in the warm breeze stirred me to near-tears. It was so beautiful.

A monument to heroes, near Manila City Hall.

It was, I felt, a good start to the day.

When I got to Savory, quite a few FPN-P’ers were already there, scribbling away. While waiting for the others – and for lunch – to arrive, we celebrated our passions of pen, ink, and paper.

The entrance to the FPN-P function room.

Early birds play with pens, paper, and ink – the triumvirate of our obsession.

A peek at some of writer-University of the Philippines professor Dr. Butch Dalisay’s Parker Vacumatics.

Lunch was another celebration, this time of gastronomic delights not often relished. The Savory  flavor is like no other. It is Chinese cuisine, yes. But it is also has a unique identity that sets it apart. Especially the fried chicken, which is famous.

Bird’s nest soup, pansit Canton, Yang Chow fried rice, pork something, fried chicken, and lumpiang Shanghai.

After lunch, it was back to pens.

Raffle items – pens, nibs, a loupe (for peering closely at nibs), and ink.

A leaf from Leigh’s notebook.

The attendance sheet – for pens, not humans.

Spot the Sailor, Danitrio, Pelikan, and Bossert and Erhard.

From Savory, the next stop was Luis Store. The fifteen or so of us crammed into the tiny piece of paradise, ogling the beautiful pens on display. Many of them are NOS (new old stock), some dating back to the 1950s, if not earlier.

Carretelas are still a common form of transportation within the area.

Walking down Escolta to Luis Store. The dome of Sta. Cruz Church can be seen in the distance.

FPN-P’ers crowd into Luis Store.

Dr. Butch Dalisay, Mrs. Pua, and Terrie Pua, who runs the pen store.

Pens on parade.

Plates for the engraving machine.

Class picture!

The Puas pressed boxes of warm and delicious chicken empanada on us, and we ate as we walked. Our next stop was Binondo.

The Starbucks – and the Pancake House beside it, and most other establishments in the area – have signage in Chinese.

Leigh holds up the Frankensnork representing TAO, fellow FPN member. In the background, life in Binondo continues its busy hustle, oblivious to the posse of pen collectors chatting and drinking coffee.

Binondo Square still sports the red and gold lanterns left over from the Lunar New Year celebration.

The penmeets celebrate not only the shared interest in pens and ink, but also friendship, love, life – as do all gatherings. That which binds is important and significant, but when people get together and interact, there is so much more that is shared. Enjoy that. Enjoy each other. Let life be a series of celebrations!

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21 Comments on pens in manila

  1. Chito Limson
    9 March 2009 at 3:55 am (4140 days ago)

    Such beautiful words that evoke beautiful experiences. Still, words fail to fully capture the memories.

  2. Kim
    9 March 2009 at 4:01 am (4140 days ago)

    What a lovely time, and lovely scenery! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with us.

  3. TAO
    9 March 2009 at 1:55 pm (4139 days ago)

    Jenny, as usual your coverage makes me feel like I spent a few minutes with you folks. This looks like one the best meets yet! Glad the Frankensnork got to represent. Not too long ago the idea of an object with personal connotations being held up in what to me is an exotic locale on the other side of the world would have met with my scoffs. I’m beginning to think it’s having more fun than I am. LOL

  4. Jenny
    10 March 2009 at 2:16 am (4139 days ago)

    Guys, thanks, glad you liked the story. :) TAO, we find Frankensnork interesting not only as an artifact in itself, but also because it came from you…but somehow it’s taken on its own personality as well… :)

  5. the amateur ear
    30 July 2009 at 2:38 am (3997 days ago)


    I saw the Luis Store when I was in Binondo recently; it was on a Saturday and the store was closed. I cannot find its telephone number in the internet. Might you have it? Thank you.

  6. FP user
    24 August 2009 at 5:06 am (3972 days ago)

    would you happen to have a phone number of the Luis Store & exact address. thanks so much.

  7. Joseph Dattilo
    20 September 2009 at 10:07 pm (3944 days ago)


    I am an Amerian moving my company to the Manila I race horses in the nited States. I havae been unable to get the Jockaey Cub to respond tome about becmoning a memner and papers to get a permit to race . Can you hep me with the correct method?

    Thank You

    Joseph Dattilo

  8. dave abedejos
    13 December 2010 at 11:45 am (3495 days ago)

    i’m glad that i red this, but can you give me the exact address of luis store because some of this days i’d like to visit there.
    and can you recommend some other pen store near in manila that i can look around, thank you
    hope that you’ll reply to this..

  9. JennyO
    13 December 2010 at 8:33 pm (3495 days ago)

    Dave, hindi ako ‘sir’. Babae ako.
    Ang Luis Store ay nasa calle Escolta sa Maynila, malapit sa simbahan. Mayroon ding Parker fountain pen sa lahat ng branches ng National Bookstore.

  10. WinnieB.
    24 March 2011 at 1:27 pm (3394 days ago)

    Hi! Is Luis Pen Store open on Saturdays? I’d like to go there but I’m free during weekdays only.

  11. WinnieB.
    24 March 2011 at 1:28 pm (3394 days ago)

    I meant weekends only.

  12. JennyO
    24 March 2011 at 9:23 pm (3394 days ago)

    Yes, Luis Store is open on Saturdays.

  13. WinnieB.
    27 March 2011 at 10:13 am (3391 days ago)

    Thanks for the response, JennyO. I appreciate it.

  14. RJMiguel
    10 August 2011 at 12:02 am (3256 days ago)

    Hi! Great post! Can you help me how to get to that pen store? Im a collector as well :) Thanks!

  15. JennyO
    10 August 2011 at 8:49 am (3255 days ago)

    RJ, Luis Store is along Escolta, near Sta. Cruz Church. I’m afraid I can’t give more explicit directions as I don’t drive. :)

  16. Mikko Lopez
    29 December 2011 at 2:04 pm (3114 days ago)

    Would someone happen to know the telephone number of Luis store ? I would like to get my Dad a Parker 21 for a gift. hope they have one. thanks

  17. george harlston
    24 March 2012 at 9:28 pm (3028 days ago)

    Question is their an age requirement because some younger people love fountain pens

  18. JennyO
    28 March 2012 at 2:27 pm (3024 days ago)

    Hi, George, there is no age requirement for FPs – they make them in all sorts of models to fit all ages and budgets. :)

  19. Nica
    24 June 2013 at 7:44 pm (2571 days ago)

    Hi, Ms. Jenny. I’d like to ask if you could recommend some cheap fountain pens for beginners like me. I’ve tried Inoxcrom kukuxumusu in the past but was a bit disappointed with it. The nib was “clogged” (with dried ink, I guess) after some use and I didn’t really fancy fine nib pens. I’m hoping you could suggest a beginner’s model/brand with medium or medium-fine nib and uses cartridges. I don’t know if National Bookstore carries Platinum Preppy and Pilot Petit 1 pens, and Zippis are no longer available, I think.

    Thank you! :)

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