With an active fountain pen network in the Philippines, the common question is: are there Filipino brands for pens and related products?
Of course, yes!
As you delve deeper in the local pen scene, you’ll discover that not only are fountain pens and other matching items available locally online and offline, but there are also products proudly made in the Philippines. (Updated as of June 2022)
The only Filipino fountain pen so far
The first Filipino fountain pen line is on almost every wish list of local penthusiasts. So far, they’re the only fountain pen made in the Philippines that you can buy. Developed by Dr. Mark del Rosario, the inaugural model, Una, continues to come in different finishes, with premium ones featuring gold nibs. There’s a second Kasama model now, the sleeker Tala, and hopefully a demonstrator version comes out soon.
Price: Starts at around Php13,500 for Kasama Una in Ultem (photo above), their flagship pen model. Inquire directly with Kasama for pens in other materials.
Fountain pen inks made in the Philippines
The first Philippine-made fountain pen ink on the market in recent years excited the local community two year ago. Created young Cebuano duo of Gabriel Arnado and Kaiser Dale Diragos (click for our interview), they used to produce inks on a per-order basis. Recently, Troublemaker Inks tend to get sold out quickly with limited bottles per color. Currently, orders are closed. But they did release a special color in collaboration with Scribe late this year.
Price: The latest release cost Php695 for 60ml. Follow us on Facebook to get notified when they go back from hiatus.
Named after colorful sails that traditionally adorn boats in the southern Philippines, Vinta Inks offer a huge collection of fountain pen ink colors in different sheen, shading, and shimmer. Launched last year by owner Jillian Tan, the brand has since released 6 ink collections and continues to reach penthusiasts in foreign shores.
Teenager Marcuz Bryant Cortez just started in May 2021, yet it already caught the attention of some Fountain Pen Network-Philippines members. Aside from mixing his own unique colors, the senior high school student also accepts requests for custom inks and shimmers.
Price: Introductory price of Php220 per bottle, including custom requests. Inquire through their Facebook page.
Local inkmeisters really start young, no? 19-year-old college student Onie Dychitan started On Inks with four inks: three that shade and one that can change colors.
Price: Php200 per 20ml bottle. Inquire through their Facebook page.
Paper for your pens and inks
To complete the trinity of Filipino pen, inks, and paper is Elias. Specifically developed to take on even wet nib and ink combination, it is perfect for fountan pens. There used to be Elias notebooks, but they are now available in pads and sheets. The line also carries leather pen cases.
Price: Starts at Php230 for a small pad and Php149 for loose sheets. Buy it from Everything Calligraphy
The Unplanned Life Handmade Notebook
Since Elias paper also come in sheets, there are notebooks makers out there who produce journals by hand. That includes Maryanne Moll, who makes A5-sized journals. You get the fountain pen friendliness of Elias Paper in the pattern of your choice.
Price: Starts at Php700 for blank, 5mm ruled, and 7mm ruled 300-page notebooks
Alunsina Handbound Notebooks
Enan and Nadja have been making leather journals for 12 years now. What started as a hobby back in 2008 was reborn in 2011 for the partners, as they continue making their products by hand. You can choose from their existing designs, and even buy a mini journal necklace. They started using fountain pen-friendly paper in 2014, and have also released a refillable leather cover set for pocket notebooks.
Price: Starts at Php600 for a small leather journal and Php1000 for regular-sized ones. Visit their official online store here.
Dior Castillo-Lalu’s was hoarding too many notebooks for calligraphy and bullet journaling purposes, but journals that can take any type of pen are uncommon and quite pricey. Alon Notebooks is their bid to “make premium quality notebooks accessible to more enthusiasts.” Using 160 gsm paper, it should handle media from fountain pen inks to paint. Although it is manufactured overseas, design conceptualization is done locally.
Price: Starts at Php548 for the Traveler’s Notebook-sized version. Also available in A5 with dotted and black-page variants. Visit their official online store here.
Sky started Kumo Papel in September 2021, finding a niche for bookbound notebooks using Forest Stewardship Council, certified woodmill paper.
“Our most common clients would be fountain pen lovers and with this, I made sure that the paper itself would live up to their standards. The paper has a slightly rough and crisp feeling when writing, with no feathering, bleeding, and ghosting,” they told Pen Noob.
Kumo Papel notebooks feature Yotsume Toji binding, “an ancient Japanese book-binding technique introduced during the Heian Period.”
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Kumo Papel notebooks are available in small (11.5 x 16cm) and large (16cm x 22cm), starting at Php350 pesos on their S
Cases to protect your precious pens and journals
Good thing there are locally-made cases to protect not just your pens but also your choice of notebook.
Created from a penthusiast’s perspective, Shibui is the brainchild of couple Melissa Pabilona-Ang and Arner Ang. Pen cases and organizers with pen loops feature their trademarked leather Pull-Tag™ Penholder which keeps pens of any diameter secure. Other leather goods like organizers and covers for different journal sizes are also available from Shibui.
Price: Starts at Php1950 for the Manila Pen Show 2019 Exclusive 2-Pen Case in XL. Get yours on Shibui’s website.
Related story: The prayers behind Shibui
Gav n Sav
As one of the longest producers in the local fountain pen community, Lara Abad Santos’ cases have protected Pinoy penthusiasts’ pens for years. What started as a way of keeping her sanity after dealing with loss paved turned into this line of bespoke fabric goods.
Price: Varies depending on design. Best to inquire through their Instagram.
Created by journalist and third-generation Marikina shoemaker Dano Tingcungco, the leather brand that primarily offers bespoke footwear also makes premium cases. All products are made by hand by Dano, who is also a fountain pen user himself.
Price: Starts at Php2998 for a single pen case. Check out entire brand lineup on the official website.
Jika, half of The Pen Noobs Podcast duo, recently got hooked to leather crafting that she can now create accessories including pen cases and notebook covers for her hobby. She is also open for commissions.
Price: Starts at Php1100 for pen cases and Php800 for notebook covers. Check out @jikabenta on Instagram.
Read also: Jika and Ryan: Two newbies in a pod(cast)
Made from full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, Natividad’s pen cases and journals can provide a protective fit for your writing tools.
For more info, check out Clem Dionglay’s review of Natividad Leather here
Likha Handcrafted Bags
While the name suggests that they mainly produce bags, the brand has expanded to other leather goods such as pen cases and journal covers with budget-friendly prices.
The Leather Library
If you’re after tough handmade leather covers for your journals, Leather Library is a great source. Handmade by April Morales, it comes in A5, A6 and TN sizes.
Price: Starts at Php800 for a classic (no-pocket) TN Passport, and 1000 for a no-pocket A6 Folio. Inquire through Instagram.
Kolhabi Pen Cases
Co-owners Calvin and Niko discovered Kolhabi, a group of Ilocos Norte weavers that produce bags, pouches, and wallet using traditional Ilocos Norte textile Inabel with Binakul pattern. To help boost the brand name and these artisans, the duo added a line of handwoven pen cases to offer indigenous weaves to penthusiasts.
Price: Starts at Php699 for an 8-pen Roll, Php420 for a 3-pen case, and Php210 for a 1-pen kimono. Inquire through Instagram.
Wooden products can be overlooked, but they actually look good on your work desk, especially if they’re made to hold your collection for those quick draw moments while working.
Whood PH carries three hobby-related accessories:
First is a 4-slot pen cube which you can use to prop up pens vertically or slide them horizontally. This was developed by Jika of the Pen Noobs Podcast.
The second one is a 12-slot pen holder with one big space for anything you want to place. Last would be a 15-slot vial holder for your ink sample stash.
Price: Pen cube is the cheapest you can get for Php190. Inquire through Instagram.
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