Manila Pen Show 2019 Recap

As some of you know, I spent some of my formative years in Manila — so I was really excited to be home for the Manila Pen Show. (In reality I was home for some family reasons, but the timing was perfect!) I didn’t stay at the show hotel, but before the show opened, I had breakfast with friends at the hotel. They had a nice selection of local and international breakfast options, and Philippine mangos, but only if you ask for them.

First stop was, of course, Kasama! I own three Kasama pens and was excited to see what they had to offer. I had heard that they were taking sign ups for custom orders where you could pick your materials — I made sure to get on that list!

They had a tray of samples so that people could check out materials. Those pens weren’t for sale though. Similarly the first image in this post is a Kasama owned by Leigh — engraved with the Philippine sun. How cool!

They also had their newest model to try (above, in my hand) and for sale (acrylic and aluminum, below).

They had a selection of pens for sale too — some with Stormtrooper roll stops, and several with metal sections and kamagong (a local hardwood) barrels.

Next up was Troublemaker Inks — where you could pay for ink by the ml if you brought your own container! Neat. I picked up vials of those four inks, as well as bottles of a couple others.

Ink, ink, ink! Pierre Cardin attended from Hong Kong — and had quite a selection of inks! (And pens, but tbh I just focused on the inks)

There were also a few folks doing nib work — here is John, who I took home a lovely CI from.

And JP, another regular presence in the Philippine pen community — known for both nib work and pen restoration.

And, of course, you may have guessed from the background of John’s photo — Ralph! (Visiting his motherland, I guess). Spotted here with Dan comparing the smells of Shibui leather cases.

Speaking of cases — I picked up two from ShibuiPH, one in their show exclusive, and another in green leather. Review to come!

There were also a few other case sellers — pictured below are cases from local Filipino fabrics, and Pen Gallery (from Malaysia) had some in batik.

Walking around a bit more… I found the Aesthetic Bay table, which had a lovely selection of Nakaya — all offered at a small discount. Oh my.

The Curious Artisan was also in attendance, with accessories, nib holders, and…

some really cool vintage typewriters. Apparently there had been a CURSIVE typewriter the day before. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Straits Pen from Singapore was also in attendance — with Mr Sunny Koh doing nib work, and quite a selection of pens & inks. Pictured here are FWI pens from Taiwan, but they had so much more too!

And of course, no show would be complete without some vintage pens…

And a boat load of exclusive inks. More on that below, but these two are both Diamine exclusives to Pen Gallery.

And now… for my haul. Oddly, I bought zero pens. But, I did get two of the Manila Show exclusive inks: Diamine Arkipelago, and TMKR Adarna. I also bought a nifty wooden boxcutter from Pierre Cardin, two cases from Shibui, a bunch more ink (mostly from TMKR) and a FWI Baby Dragon pen from Straits.

I did, sadly (due to arriving on Sunday, when the show started on Saturday), miss the Pierre Cardin Manila Sunset ink as well as the other TMKR show exclusive.

No new pens aside (don’t worry — I’m on the Kasama list), I had a great time and it was great to see friends and make new ones (and match so many names from Facebook and Instagram to real people!).

The Philippine Department of Tourism has been running the slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” for several years, and I can enthusiastically say that it’s definitely true for pen shows, as hokey as that sounds. The Philippine Fountain Pen community is so vibrant — I’m excited to see how the MPS grows and changes in the years to come. It’s a fantastically run show (complete with totebags & pins for the first 200 attendees each day) with a wide variety of vendors (I definitely wasn’t able to list them all here, this isn’t even half) and a really amazing raffle (Sunday had 20+ prizes, including a Sailor Pro Gear Slim Supernova AND a Kasama prototype).

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  1. Ang ganda! My wife and I just returned home from a vacation in the Philippines. I spent two years there as a missionary. If I had known about the Manila show I would have make that a part of our trip!

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