My Fountain Pen Story + Fountain Pen Day 2017 Recap!

For the longest time, I’ve been passionate about fountain pens.

I can’t say exactly when it started, but I do remember being a huge fan of all things vintage ever since I was a young child. I also grew up fond of drawing, penmanship, and writing in general. In high school, I fell in love with the timeless charm of Parker ballpoints and stress-hoarded them every chance I got, a habit which eventually turned into a penchant for amassing their upgraded version: the respected fountain pen.

My Story

I remember going into a Pilot store and pleading with my dad to get me a purple Birdie — my first fountain pen ever. And oh boy, I couldn’t be more glad he did (despite believing at the time that fountain pens were out of fashion and a hassle to use). That moment sparked a passion that has been going strong for several years. Since then it has gone through periods of calm, only to resurface again stronger. Just this August (right after getting a job!) I saved up for a Pilot Decimo, my most expensive pen to date.

I’ve been a part of the fountain pen community since 2012/2013. I remember attending the pen meets back in UP Diliman. At the time, the meets were very small gatherings. 10 people was a crowd. What I loved about those meets, though, was that newbies were very much welcome. Veteran members would shower us with pens and other paraphernalia — particularly during pen raffles — and they would want nothing in return except for our continued enjoyment of their stuff. I remember getting a stack of French books (which I’ve brought with me all the way to my current residence, and have stayed with me despite circumstances, perhaps for a reason!) from a fellow member, Rene Caruncho of the Mr. Quickie shoe and bag repair line. (Once again, thank you, good sir).

True enough, the Fountain Pen Network – Philippines I came to know is full of nice folks. I will not forget the time I participated in a group buy for a rare lime green Lamy Safari. How exciting! But my excitement was short-lived, as my mom was suddenly diagnosed with lymphoma for the first time. With a heavy heart, I cancelled my order, knowing that I could no longer afford such a luxury. Yet a kind FPN-P member (whom I shall not name) told me not to worry about it. I was all smiles and full of gratitude when I received my new collector’s item. Up until now, I still wonder how on earth I might be able to pay back (or pay forward) for this act of kindness.

In the years that followed, I ceased to be active in pen meets, due to schedule constraints (and because I was in university from 2011-2017). I continued to lurk in the FPN-P Facebook group, though, and would occasionally post in the forum. Now and then I would go to Scribe and buy a new fountain pen — or head to National Bookstore and grab hold of the latest edition Lamy Safari. Realizing that my collecting habits were turning out to be an endless series of one beginner’s pen after another, followed by selling the pens I liked the least, I finally gave in to the temptation of a purple Pilot Decimo — still not a high-end pen, by typical fountain pen standards, but a decent one at least.

Whenever an event pops up in the local group, I get excited and think about the possibility of becoming active again. To date, the FPN-P Facebook group has over 800 members — a testament to the community’s expansion. Every day, it continues to grow, with so many new members being welcomed into the group. I have to admit it’s hard to remember people’s names, except if I’ve interacted with them previously (or bought something from them).

Needless to say, when the announcement for Fountain Pen Day 2017 popped up in my newsfeed, I quickly begged Jared to let me go. And he said yes! 😀

Double the happiness as he would come with me too!

Fountain Pen Day 2017

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Fountain Pen Day 2017, organized by Cars and Calibres & Calibre magazine. (From Fountain Pen Day 2017 Facebook event page.)

This year’s Fountain Pen Day was the first such event I attended. (Yes, I’m unbelievable — I’ve been part of the community for the longest time, and only recently did I find out that they’ve been doing this since 2015.) It took place in Commune Cafe + Bar in Makati on November 4, 2017, from 1pm to 6pm.

By a major stroke of luck Jared and I were part of the first fifty guests, and as a result we got free drinks and snacks. 🙂

The participating stores (Pengrafik, EverythingCalligraphy, Scribe, Rubbertree Bags, etc.) were just setting up when we arrived. As promised, everything was on sale at 20% off!

I spent a lot of time hanging around the Pengrafik booth, contemplating whether I would finally buy that flex pen I had been eyeing for the longest time (possibly a year, to be exact). It took almost forever for me to decide (lol), thanks to Jared swooping in and helping me out. He ended up getting me a pink FPR Indus — a slightly smaller and slimmer version of the Jaipur, with the same flex nib. (I had a lot of fun playing around with the flex, though I’m still no expert.)

I managed to pick up four bottles of De Atramentis inks at the EverythingCalligraphy booth. Hooray for fulfilling my promise to get more inks to match my pens! At Php 450 for two bottles (since they were buy-one-take-one), it sure was a steal! As time went by the growing throng of people caused a major hubbub (nothing out of control, but it was still noisy and crowded!) at the booths as they scrimmaged for stocks.

Truly the event was a testament to people’s re-emerging passion for the art of putting pen on paper, and the growth of the fountain pen community. Everywhere I looked, I saw people greeting people they knew.

There were also fun events (including a raffle), but we didn’t linger upstairs as we figured the environment was a bit too much for an introvert and near-introvert.

We left early, and made a run to Megamall, where I passed by Scribe (“Oh hi, Scribe, we meet again!”) to pick up Traveler’s Notebook refills. I got a Yumi grid refill, which fits the TN just perfectly. It’s cheaper too, at only Php 180 vs the Php 225 up of Midori. The paper also seems decent. (Here’s a review by The Serial Doodler if you’re interested.) I also got a set of connecting bands, which are necessary to hold the refill.

My next project will be the Midori 2018 diary. But that’ll be for December yet. 🙂 (Oh, what will 2018 have in store?)

When Jared and I got home, we were both spent. But it was a fun way to spend the weekend. 🙂 (And no regrets spending money over the weekend, haha.)

I’m definitely attending another Fountain Pen Day event. November 4, 2018 — putting a pin on it! (Dear, pretty please?)

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