Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Old Manila Pen/Ink/Paper Hunt

Last Saturday, a small group of Fountain Pen Network - Philippines (that's FPN-P, yes) members trekked to Old Manila to pen/ink/paper-hunt. There were nine of us, yes, including the two girls with the Lucky Panda everyone calls Ivan (I have a photo with him.).

My haul: the brown notebooks are Golden Bridge brand, bought more for sentimental reasons than their use; the colorful ones are Staples brand Memo Notebooks; Hero 221 pens and a white Rotring Tikky II; vintage red and green Parker Super Quink inks; the pad underneath all these good stuff is a Cattleya yellow ruled pad, very, very friendly to fountain pens! *Wink.*

The day started for some five of us eating McDonald Quarter Pounder meals while waiting for the others to arrive. Our first stop: Recto.

The first shop we visited in Recto is Conanan's. It was my first visit to Conanan's, and I saw a bad/poor/dirty Parker 25. Poor pen. *Sigh.* I wished I could buy it, but I was saving my moola for the Birdies in Cosmos. Some of us got excited over Conanan's notepads with laid paper selling for less than PhP10 a pad. We all had a hoot seeing boxes of vintage Parker Super Quink inks in black, blue, blue-black and red. I got a bottle of red Super Quink, but not before ink-meisters Mona and John turned the bottle this way and that, held it against light to check for serious sediments or molds, and smelled the ink for signs of bad chemical reactions. They said the ink should not smell vinegary. *Wink. Wink.*

Vintage Parker Super Quink inks. The red is from Conanan's in Recto, the green is from Merriam and Webster in Avenida.

Our next Recto shop: Corona!!! Corona is unforgetable for me because it's the first shop I went to visit and bought a lot of pens without hurting my cashflow. :) A Hero pen at Corona costs between PhP60-70 a piece. A lot cheaper than a McDo Quarter Pounder meal! There were plenty of Youth and Hero pens available, some new since my first visit, and several Lamys, but I just got myself two Hero 221's. Saving it up for the Birdies...

The last shop we visited while in Recto is the Merriam and Webster store. Lots of Parker 45s and some Sheaffers, but I really wasn't into buying these pens so I tried the paper department and came up with, voila! a pad of Cattleya yellow ruled legal paper! And like the other Cattleya pad I got previously, this one is very friendly to fountain pen use. I also spotted a bunch of Rotring Tikkys and I got myself a white one.

Next stop: Avenida. John was telling us about cheapie Sailor fountain pens at Avenida's Merriam and Webster branch, so we dropped by, only to find out that someone bought all the pens last week. Hmmm... We were all thinking, who could that be? So we feasted on their vintage inks and I got a bottle of the permanent green Parker Super Quink ink with Solv-X. Surprisingly, the bottle I got is Made in the Philippines. Cool.

While the others went on to look at the other bottles of inks, I went to check out their notebooks and I was so surprised (and happy all the same) to see stacks of the brown Golden Gate notebooks. Remember the 55 notebooks blogpost? I wish I had a Golden Gate there. These notebooks date to my elementary days and I bought three of them last Saturday, more for sentimental reasons than their usefulness. Sentimental because I once used a University Theme notebook as a reviewer of sorts when I was about to take my scholarship exams for my high school qualifications. And it helped. Together with a blue and red Haba-haba ballpoints. I got a four-year high school scholarship complete with book and uniform allowances. God, how I miss those days...

Golden Gate notebooks date back even to my parents' school days. Rarely sold in big bookstores nowadays, it's a delight to see them again.

These are PhP9.75 a piece notebooks and I'm glad to have found them and let them keep my fountain pens company.

Lastly, the pens. The two capped pens are the Hero 221's from Corona with different barrel colors: green and black. Both are excellent writers, never mind that the green one leaks. The white pen beside the two is a Rotring Tikky that accepts 0.7mm nibs only - time to use the Pilot ENO color leads!

And the Pilot Birdies? No we didn't get any of them. Cosmos Bazaar was already closed for the day when we got there. Argh! Then again, while we were in Binondo, Hazel treated us to a dinner of noodles, pig's ears, dimsum, and the winner ube siopao. It rocks! It's true that time flies by (fast) when you're having fun. Soon after the unforgettable dinner (and some pictures taken), we were let off at the UN Avenue LRT station to catch a ride to Buendia and then home to Laguna. What a day it was for all of us. Fun! (That of course spells pens, inks, paper, food, friends.) *Wink.*


  1. My, oh my, I've been trying to get my hands on some Hero pens (for such a tempting price, too)! I'm not so good with Recto, can you please give me an idea how I can find Corona?

    Ps. I had those golden gate notebooks in grade school, too, makes me nostalgic seeing them.:)


  2. I'm surprised that those nostalgic / sentimental items are still existing at several bookstores and office/school supplies stores. I like them so much.