We know it every year, but the Manila International Book Fair is without a doubt the best place to go to shop for all things Pilot, including their awesome fountain pens and incredible inks.
That’s because Cosmos Bazaar, which is in Binondo, is quite inaccessible for many people, but when they setup shop in Mall of Asia during the MIBF you can get a shot at their entire Pilot catalogue and that includes the world famous Namiki Iroshizuku inks, which are simply stunning, and their fine selection of Vanishing Point, Metropolitan and Birdy line of pens. As added incentive — and a huge enabler to be honest — you can actually use your credit card when they are in the book fair, unlike in their Binondo Shop where they have no access to a credit card reader.
I splurged quite a bit this year and bought five fountain pens and five bottles of ink. The fountain pens weren’t that expensive — I just bought an entry-level Pilot Metropolitan and four Birdys, which are ridiculously good buys. The Pilot MR Animal Series are some of the best entry-level cigar fountain pens you can buy, available in Medium, Fine and Extra Fine nibs. Cosmos only had their Medium nibs this time, which worked out for me because I already have three MRs in Fine. Now I have a Medium nib!
I actually already have a white Tiger MR in Fine, but it’s my favorite of the MR series so I bought another one. Here are my two Pilot Tigers, side by side. One has Diamine Hope Pink, the other just newly inked with Namiki Yu Yake (Orange Sunset).
The great thing about the MR series is how affordable they are. At Cosmos they only cost 440 each. I got my first MR from Amazon for around $15 US. It’s much cheaper at Cosmos! I don’t know how they do it, but these pens are a steal at Cosmos.
Not only that. The Birdy costs 228 pesos, which is unbelievable. The Birdys are like, the single best fountain pen you can buy from a Value Standpoint as far as I’m concerned. You can buy a Pilot Varsity from National Bookstore for 80 pesos, but those are pretty icky pens. The Birdy is not a cheap disposable plastic pen like the varsity, it’s steel and looks made to last.
Another thing to note is the Pilot Vanishing Point series, which go for 5,700php at Cosmos. That’s an unbelievable value. I didn’t buy any as I spent too much on inks, but when I first bought my Pilot Decimo Vanishing Point from Amazon it came out to around 8,000 pesos with shipping included. It’s much cheaper to get from Cosmos.
Speaking of inks, I bought five bottles of Namiki Iroshizuku. Wow. Hahah. Big spender! I would have bought more, but the bill was starting to rack up and I didn’t want to feel too bad when I see my credit card statement later.
I got some really nice inks to go. I still wanted to get Yama Budo, Kon Peki, and Momiji but well I’ll do that next year. To be honest, Iroshizuku inks aren’t my favorite ink, but they may be my second favorite.
The best inks in my opinion still come from Noodler’s. No other inks have the way to shade and vary in their expression the way Noodler’s inks do, and most of them are well-behaved with good ink flow. Namiki inks on the other hand tend to be very wet, but have beautiful vibrant colors. They don’t vary in shade as much as Noodler’s tend to, and are hell on crappy paper, but there’s definitely a feel of elegance with the Iroshizuku line that you don’t get from most other pens, except maybe from Pelikan. I blame the wonderful bottle.
Here’s a sample of how the inks wrote with the new pens I got.
The stuff came with a ton of freebies as well. I got like, 10 teddy bears and a bunch of dry bags, along with a whole boatload of Frixxion pens. I love Frixxion Pens. They are “only” gel pens but they are still great to use. I also got a boadload of jot pads, that’s what this is written on. The Jotpad is fairly nice but the paper is no Claire Fontaine, as you can see the Yu Yake feathers on it pretty badly on a medium nib. On a Fine Nib it is perfect even with the very wet Iroshizuku inks.
All in all, a very fruitful visit to the Manila International Book Fair. I will ignore the envelope that comes in the mail saying “Credit Card Statement” this month.