Ronaldo A Geron, is a lawyer, graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Law class of 1987 and a native of the Province of Batangas, Philippines. Ronaldo A Geron is engaged in the practice of law, doing consultancies for both government and the private sector. He also teaches law at the Batangas State University. Ronaldo A Geron, used to be in government during the incumbency of President Benigno S. Aquino III. He held various positions at the Office of the President and ended his stint in that administration as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigrations.
Ronaldo A Geron, has another identity – he is the world’s largest collector of Yellow Fountain Pens (certainly we know of no one who has a bigger collection of yellow pens), someone who has taken his passion for the fountain pen to an all-together different level. Inked Happiness caught up with him – the Yellow Pen Man – and “he told us of his life, in a yellow submarine”. Excerpts:
Inked Happiness: Why yellow? Or is it that you have just begun with yellow and the rest of the colours in the rainbow will follow in due course? How long have you been collecting yellow fountain pens? What got you hooked to fountain pen collecting in the first place?
Ronaldo A Geron: I’d been using fountain pens since I was in Law School in the mid-80’s. Fountain pens were mandatory in the Philippine Bar Examination questions at that time. I still have the pen I used in the 1987 Bar examinations. Through the years, I kept a handful of fountain pens with me.
Fast forward to 2011, just before the Christmas holidays. I ran out of ideas for Christmas gifts and just on a whim, decided to give out yellow pens.
Why yellow? I have a disclosure to make. Yellow was the colour of the then current dominant political party in the Philippines. I was part of that political party. I had headed over to a pen and stationery store in our place Quezon City and bought Lamy yellows: fountain pens, click pens, roller balls. All those I gave out as gifts. After giving out those yellow Lamy’s, the yellow pen tag stuck. As fate would have it, I met the good people of the Fountain Pen Network Philippines (FPN-P) in May 2012.
I was able to buy a yellow Waterman Charleston from one of the members, got introduced to fountain pen bidding wars on eBay and learned where to get fountain pens here in the Philippines. Down the rabbit hole I went.
Inked Happiness: Collecting pens is one thing – but isn’t collecting just yellow pens, taking things a bit too far, even by the standards of the fountain pen fraternity? How big is your collection? What is the common thread? How unique would you rate your collection to be?
Ronaldo A Geron: There were yellow fountain pens and demonstrators at the start, and buying yellows from eBay sellers became quite convenient. At the start of 2013, I had less than a dozen yellow fountain pens; by year-end, I had more than two dozen and the collection was featured in a Philippine magazine.
From then on it never stopped. I now have 300 yellow fountain pens. Common thread? None, except for the colour yellow. A majority of the pens are in bright mandarin yellow. Some are near to yellow orange and some lean towards yellow green. As far as I know, the 300 pens could be considered as the largest yellow fountain pen collection now.
Inked Happiness: From your vantage point, do you see a resurgence in the interest in fountain pens? Are more young people picking up the pen, either as a hobby, or as an accessory, an implement for daily use?
Ronaldo A Geron: I have seen a resurgence in fountain pen use in the Philippines with younger people using them. Probable reasons? The growth of interest in Calligraphy, the increase in the number of brands and models available, the convenience of buying pens online and the hundreds of shades of beautiful fun fountain pen inks.
Inked Happiness: I know this is a wrong thing to ask, but which five pens from your collection are your favourite? If you have problems in picking favourites, we all have, which ones would you like to highlight to our readers? And why?
Ronaldo A Geron : Here are some of the favourites :
- Parker Duofold Senior and Junior, the oldest pens in my collection. Both date back to 1926, are fully restored and are still working well.
- Newton Prospector. This pen was made by Shawn Newton. It has a 1.1 mm stub nib
- A Lamy Safari that I used in my last Government post. I signed an average of 300 documents a day with that pen during my stint at that office. I had the pen framed after I left the Government.
- Nakaya Piccolo Cigar in Negoro Nanohana-iro. I bought this as a gift for myself after leaving the Government.
- M910 Pelikan Toledo. A very good writer that I bought for half its price!
Inked Happiness: How different is a thematic collection – like the one that you have – from a general one, a collection of a “hoarder” one who buys any fountain pens for example?
Ronaldo A Geron: The thematic collection was not started deliberately; it just happened. I admit I have some rather pricey pens in my collection but a big number are inexpensive starter pens. A number were bought during trips to other countries – like when I stayed for less than two weeks in China and I went home with 18 yellow pens. Hoarding? Probably not, as I only get one of each model.
Inked Happiness: What advice do you have for new entrants who want to have collections that are specific like the one that you have built so painstakingly.
Ronaldo A Geron: It all starts with love. 😁 If you love what you are doing, you should continue to do it day by day, continuously. One can set a price limit to his collection. Who can question if someone comes up with a “Largest collection of $10 brown fountain pens in the world!”
As for me, ha ha ha, eBay gives me a prompt on my mobile phone every time somebody posts a yellow fountain pen for sale. 😂
Inked Happiness: Has the pandemic and the resultant lock-down been less of an evil, thanks to your collection, which must have kept you busy through and through? What are the benefits of having a hobby – especially one like collecting fountain pens?
Ronaldo A Geron: This pen collecting hobby is not just about the yellow pens that I have seen and bought. This is about the people and the friendships that I have made, amassed and hoarded. This is what the hobby has brought me, friends from all over the world that I hope to keep forever.
Inked Happiness: Anything that you would like to communicate to our readers.
Ronaldo A Geron: Thanks Sir for this. Thank you pen friends, for all the wonderful pen stories we have shared.
Keep safe, stay healthy and keep collecting those beautiful pens.
You can check him out in Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yellowpenman/