A couple of hours before my father died, a package came in. Inside the fine cotton pouch (which I lost at Starbucks Matalino) was a small, refillable notebook with a cover of soft, dark brown leather. My first name’s initials were stamped in the center, with my nickname also pressed at the bottom right corner.
I got a Kislap notebook with the aim of reviving my on-the-go journal-writing habit. But I wouldn’t touch it until after my father’s burial. The wake was a pretty busy affair, but that’s a topic for another time.
Whenever my father drove us to my mother’s province in our pre-owned Kia Besta van in the late 90’s, I’d write down little bits of moments on my notebook. 5am: Left home. 9am: Stopover for Jollibee at Luisita, had burger steak. 11am: Pangasinan!!! This accompanied my ultra-shaky home footage of the trip, using up half of the Video 8 tape just for random storytelling on the road. (By the way, if you have an old camera that takes Video 8 tapes, please let us know. We wish to borrow or buy one. We want to convert all our old tapes but having it done in shops is extremely expensive.)
The notebooks have gone missing, but I remember how the seemingly-mundane real-time-updates-on-paper was how I dealt with almost everything. When our student publication went to UP for a DNA isolation workshop in 2005, our editor in chief then saw me doing the same type of updates on a small notebook. “Hey, maybe we can use that format for a story.”
Looking back, it seemed that I was tweeting before it was online.
My Kislap journal has now lost its darkness and is showing some age, but it is the beautiful type of aging. The stamped letters are losing their depth, but are still readable. I also had a problem with curling corners, but I fixed it by clamping in a recycled Starbucks planner bookmark to the sturdy felt insert that was included in the set.
Three fillers can fit in a Kislap, without much modification. I’m currently using the blank jotter from Moonleaf’s 2013 planner, Alunsina’s own blank refill, and Midori’s 2015 planner which I got from Scribe’s discounted set (because Midori Traveller’s Notebooks’s regular prices are damn expensive here).
Aside from the felt divider which holds my mini Starbucks card, a used ticker to Imbisibol, and my girlfriend’s latest letter, the journal also has the Midori zip pocket (refills and accessories are cheap in Japan) which holds claim receipts guarded by a Pikachar card.
I also recycled the envelope that came with Starbucks gift certificates to hold small paper items and emergency money.
The beauty of this refillable system is when I run out of pages, I just put in a new refill and keep the old one. Same skin, different paper. It can take 5.5 x 3.5 inch jotters, which means that your Field Notes or old Moleskine Cahiers can fit. I currently have spare Alunsina refills and more coming soon, together with more felt dividers. The size is also just right: it can fit in my coat’s pocket and is very easy to throw in any of my bags.
I haven’t kept a personal pocket journal since a few months after college graduation, and keeping one has helped me revive the habit of scribbling aside from keeping me sane. My father would always read my pencil scribbles after every family trip, maybe now he’s looking over my shoulder every time I’m writing. Huwag lang lagi 😛
You can get your Pinoy-made pocket Kislap notebook from Alunsina starting at Php1000