Posts Tagged ‘fountain pens’

new old pens and cases

It’s been about a week since I visited Leigh and took home her lovely, well-kept, vintage Sailor21 and Platinum fountain pens. As I mentioned in my last post, she also gave me a Platinum plastic pen box and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen, as well as carts for the Sailor and an adaptor for the Platinum. Leigh, thanks so much! Yay for Leigh! :-)

She also suggested that I look for the Cheery Mohohon pen cases that she bought at Fully Booked-Bonifacio High Street. Hers was brown. “Get one,” she urged. Alex and Ik happened to visit there a couple days later and Ik got me two, one gray and the other brown, and a gray one for herself.

It really is much better than the usual soft pouches I use, where the pens and stuff all roll about inside, scratching each other up. Inside the Cheery case, the pens are kept separate and safe.


On the left are the Platinum and Sailor in the Platinum box; and on the right, the Cheery with a Schneider, Inoxcrom kukuxumusu, Parker Jotter FP, Platinum Preppy, Parker Jotter BP, and an Inoxcrom Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

Just simple things, but they make life sweet.

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a very fountain pen day

Learning of my new fondness for fountain pens, a friend gave me one of his, acquired in the early ’80s.

The pen is gold-plated with a pattern of closely-spaced parallel lines. It was in horrible shape – no nib (my friend had taken it apart when he had spread the tines pressing too hard), the aerometric-fill system was leaky, and the grip’s threads were loose. No nib. The clip was broken in half. The top and bottom tassies were discolored and showed brassing. No nib!

So today we took it to Luis Store at 375 Escolta. (Call them at (02)241-3484) I first learned of the shop from Leigh’s old blog and immediately wanted to visit. I asked my friend for landmarks; I was surprised when he told me he actually knew the shop founder and used to buy and have pens and lighters repaired there forty years ago. “Nandoon pa ba ‘yon?” he asked.

This friend of mine remembers going to the store when he was in high school (early ’60s) when all Mang Luis Pua had was a stall beside the road. Today, Mang Luis’s widow Mrs. Pua and their daughters Terrie and Rose carry on the business, now housed in a fairly new building; the shop is a haven for local pen connoisseurs in the know.

Once there, Terrie uncapped the pen, and went, “Where’s the nib?” My friend shrugged. “Lost,” he said. Mrs. Pua then came along, took a look at the pen as well, and said, “Where’s the nib? Gold ‘yun!” By that time he was red in the face and mumbling, “Saan na nga kaya ‘yon?”

The shop is a dream for collectors. They do adjustments and repairs, and have vintage and new stock of Parker, Sheaffer, Montblanc, Waterman, and others. I saw a Parker 51, which I really want, also a vintage Sheaffer ballpoint similar to what my mom has (she says it belonged to her mother, my grandmother Beatriz Ledesma Lacson).

So we left the pen for repair, mainly nib replacement. We asked Rose and Terrie a good place nearby to have lunch. “Turn right at the corner and look for the French windows,” they said. “Order the grilled pork chop.” Same thing they told Leigh. I’m glad I took their advice. The pork chop was great, along with sides of fried egg and potato salad. The place is called 9 to 6 Foodhouse, along Tomas Pinpin corner Escolta.


Back at the office, I checked Lih-Tah Wong’s excellent online reference Parker 75 Fact Book and found out that the pen is a Parker 75 Milleraies, made in France. (Milleraies is French for “a thousand lines”).

My friend has another Parker 75 which he identified as a Grain d’Orge (barleycorn pattern).

He says he used to own a Parker 51 which he found really annoying to use (it was skipping) so he took the nib apart. He couldn’t put it back together again the way it was so he stopped using it. (Rose and I, in unison: “Where is it?!”)

My friend is amazed that the pens he used when he was younger and took for granted as “just pens” are now worth a fortune. Well, a small one anyway. Luis Store’s cheapest Parker 51 is P28,000. ”And to think my classmates and I used to stab our pens nib-first into the tops of our wooden schooldesks,” he said. As I looked at him in horror he said, “Eh matibay naman kasi eh.”

Later that same afternoon, I visited Leigh ‘s office to pick up the Platinum and Sailor “21″ pens. It was our first meeting and I was so happy as Leigh is so sweet and friendly. The pens are in beautiful shape, and she even gave me a black Platinum Preppy and a Platinum pen box.

The highlight of our encounter was when she showed me her lovely pens (Omas, frog Danitrio) and let me try out her Piccolo Nakaya and gold Danitrio with a cursive italic nib, both loaded with lovely light brown ink. Now I feel that I have seen and tried out real pens, and know what I should be collecting.

Yay for pens!

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my favorite pens

Some of my favorite things – my fountain pens and Moleskine. When it comes to pens, it seems I have only one criteria. As for the Moleskine, I’m wondering when, if ever, will there be a pink one?

From the top: four Inoxcroms – two Jordi Labandas, a kukuxumusu, and an Agatha Ruiz de la Prada; below them, a Schneider zippi. Cheap, true, but pink and dependable. The Schneider, ARdelaP, and kukuxumusu wrote smoothly the instant the cartridge went in. (I have not loaded the two Jordi Labandas yet). I’ll be using them as everyday “road warriors”.

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latest cheap FP acquisitions

So the kids and I dropped by Fully Booked at the Powerplant Mall today. Guess what I should see inside a glass case but an attractive display of Inoxcrom fountain pens? Among the selections were the latest mini Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, the new Jordi Labanda ballpoints (with the “ball” on the clicker), and two sets of the old (from two years ago) Jordi Labanda FP-and-BP set including one that looked exactly like my old one that died! (see previous post)

Both of the old sets on display were PINK. One set, as I said, in the exact same design and color as my old one (dark rose). The other set was light pink.

Now, I ask you, what are the odds of that happening? That of all the stock of items left over, that they would have the old design. Not only that,but that both remaining sets would be pink!

I think you know there was only one thing I could do, right? the stars in their courses laid down the destiny that these pens and I should meet. Who was I to argue? or to resist?

I also picked up an Inoxcrom kukuxumusu with an adorable pattern of hearts on its barrel. Of course it was pink too. Despite the medium nib (I prefer fine), it’s slim and short enough to suit me, while still having enough room in the barrel for a spare cartridge! Now that is what I call a good pen.


It will go nicely with my teNeues “hearts” notebook that I got for Christmas.


“Kukuxumusu”, according to ever-helpful Wikipedia, means “the flea’s kiss” in Euskara (Basque).

For Ik, I got this stripey ARdelaP as a reward for being rank #5 in class (up from #7 last grading period). She loves pens almost as much as I do. Congratulations, Ik, first on your academic achievement,and second on being a new “pen”-atic!


Amazingly, the pens are cheaper here in Manila than in some places online. Each Jordi Labanda set of FP-and-BP went for P685 or US$16.70, that’s for a set of two pens, while online, a Jordi Labanda fountain pen alone goes for US$18! The kukuxumusu, US$6.95 as against US$10 online.

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new trend in fountain pens

Pilot and Platinum, along with other brands like Smiggle, Schneider, and Inoxcrom, have embarked on a new adventure in fountain pen manufacturing and marketing by creating the cheap disposable fountain pen! Their way of bringing fine writing instruments to the masses, these colorful FPs appeal to the young and young at heart with their bright colors and affordable prices.

The latest trend is to package the FPs much like what is being done with gel pens – a set of rainbow colors in a transparent plastic case.

The Pilot Varsity (below) is lightweight and disposable. An ink supply window in the barrel shows you how much ink is left. It comes in black, blue, red, green, purple, light blue, and pink. This set of seven pens costs around US$17.

Platinum, a brand well known for quality, doesn’t compromise when it comes to its Preppy line. Packaged in sets of six, it comes in black, blue, red, yellow, pink, and green. The nib and ink are the same color! Around US$3 each pen.


Pilot has another ace up its sleeve with the Petit1, for “the young and modern adult”. The nib is fine, stainless steel, and uses ink cartridges. It comes in a wide range of sixteen colors, and is around US$4.50 each pen.

To buy online, try Jpens or Jetpens.

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pens r us

Ik and I were walking through Powerplant mall the other day when I decided to drop by Office Warehouse to see if they had any fountain pen converters.

They don’t, but they do have these scrumptious Schneider fountain pens for kids. Called “zippi”, they come in blue, gray, pink, orange, and green, have an “A” (beginner) nib, and take a short international cartridge. They are very short, so you can’t “piggy-back” a spare cartridge inside, but they write very smoothly. I got a pink one for myself, a blue one for Ik, and a gray one for Alex.

They are quite cheap – P89 each (about US$2.17 by present rates), while a six-pack of cartridges costs P21 (US$0.51). I told Ik it was her first fountain pen, and that she could work up to a Waterman or Montblanc later on – much, much later on.

Since Ik loves to draw and doodle, filling notebooks full with her manga sketches and stories, she really appreciates her new pen.

Schneider is a German brand that’s been around quite a while, but is synonymous with affordability and functionality rather than luxury. But because of their efforts, users now have more choices and those who felt they could not afford one before, can now have more than one colorful fountain pen if they wish!

The company makes other models of fountains pens (go to, but all are geared to students rather than older professionals. They seem very dependable and the quality is good. Actually, it is the smoothest and least scratchy of my three pens, the other being an Inoxcrom Jordi Labanda and the other a Parker Jotter. The ages of the Inoxcrom and Parker might have something to do with it (I got them two, three years ago), but I was still very pleased that the Schneider performed excellently right off the bat.

My latest “cheap pen” buy was an Inoxcrom Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. It is a “mini”, very short, just a smidgen longer than the short cartridge. This one writes smoothly also, no skips, no blots. The ink flowed the second I stuck in the cartridge. I love this pen to pieces because it is very very pink with yellow flowers. Got it this afternoon from National Bookstore for P230 (US$5.60). It’s from the 2007 Tutti Frutti range.


Is this my new Moleskine companion? I guess so, at least for now, because it’s compact, cheap, and PINK!

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fountain pen love

As a beginner pen enthusiast on a budget, I am interested in anything that has information on fountain pens – websites, magazines, books, blogs. I root through Booksale’s mag bins for tattered copies of Stylus, and websurf sites like Pentrace and Nakaya.

So I was excited to discover Leigh’s blog ( especially since like me she is a Filipina based in Manila. I had no idea about the pen collecting scene here, and it was very interesting to learn that there is indeed an underground fanbase for vintage and contemporary fountain pens. Other collectors include Butch Dalisay (famed Filipino writer, was my English professor at UP) and other celebs.

Leigh has an extensive collection and from time to time culls it to make room for new acquisitions. I emailed her for advice and help on acquiring my first vintage pen, and was so happy when she responded right away. She has two beauties that may be right for me – a Sailor21 and a Platinum floral. Both are lovely! Leigh sent pictures, annotated in her graceful flowing calligraphy. The Sailor21 is pink inside (my favorite color), while the Platinum has an appealing floral design.

Top: Sailor 21. Below: Platinum long-shorts.

As an absolute greenhorn, all I have are two inexpensive fountain pens – a shocking pink Inoxcrom Jordi Labanda that after a year or so refused to write even when fed with a fresh cartridge; and a burgundy Parker Jotter that writes very “wet” and has a medium nib when I could really use a fine or extra-fine nib.

As a writer, I love the sensuousness of good pens and paper – the tactile sensation of fingers and pen sliding over smooth paper, the distinctive smell of ink. I’m looking for the perfect writing companion for my new Moleskines. My dream? An extra-fine or fine nib pen filled with pink Rotring, Jansen, or Waterman ink.

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