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The Rotonda - Your Gateway To The Filipino Information Highway



Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas



Philippine Banknotes


1998 was the Centennial of the Philippine Independence from Spanish rule.
As our way of celebrating this event, we thought we'd introduce you to the
Philippine banknotes, and thus, in a round-about sort of way, the hero's
and events from those times.


(Thanks to Gina for the translations - we're just trying to indicate the spirit
of the scenes on the banknotes, so no guarantees as to the accuracy of the
translations and the descriptions of events!)



Five Pesos / Limang Piso



The front view depicts General Emilio Aguinaldo (1869 - 1964), the first President of the Philippines and one of the heroes of the revolution.

The text reads 'Republika Pilipina 1898 - 1901. Sa kumbentong ito itinatag ang Presidensya ng Unang Republika Pilipina na pinanguluhan ng KGG. Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy at dito'y nanatili mula noong ika-10 ng Setyembre 1898 hanggang ika-29 ng Marso 1899.'

This roughly translates as "Republic of the Philippines 1898 - 1901. At this convent, the head of the KGG was inaugurated as the President of the first Republic of the Philippines. Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy stayed here from 10th September 1889 to 29th march 1899.

Front View
5 Pesos Front
Back View
5 Pesos Back
This is entitled "Pagpapahayag ng Kasarinlan ng Pilipinas Noong Hunyo 12, 1898.

This translates as "The Announcement of the Independence of the Philippines 12th June 1898" and shows the people celebrating this great event.


Ten Pesos / Sampung Piso


This depicts Apolinario Mabini (1864 - 1903) and Andres Bonifacio (1863 - 1897). Mabini was the Prime Minister of the First Republic, and the brains of the revolution, he was also known as the 'Sublime Paralytic'. Bonifacio was one of the founders of the Katipunan. Also shown is the 'Kartilya ng Katipunan'. The Kartilya was the code of conduct of the Katipunan.

This is a new version of the note, since 1997. The previous note only depicted Mabini.

Front View
10 Pesos Front
Back View
10 Pesos Back
This shows two scenes, the first being the 'Simbahan ng Barasoain'. Meaning the 'Church of Barasoain' at Malolos in the province of Bulacan. This is where the Malolos Congress met for 5 months in 1898 to fashion the Philippine Constitution.

The second being 'Mga bagong kasapi ng katipunan. Na lumalagda sa mga kasulatan ng KKK sa pamamagitan ng kanilang dugo'. This scene depicts the new members of the Katipunan signing their allegiance to the KKK in their own blood.


Twenty Pesos / Dalawampung Piso


This shows a portrait of Manual Quezon (1878 - 1944). He was the first Philipine President under the Philippine Commonwealth, after independance from the USA.

He was also known as the founder of the national language. This is illustrated on the right hand side of the picture with 'Wikang Pambansa' meaning national language.

Front View
20 Pesos Front
Back View
20 Pesos Back
The scene shown here is 'Palasyo ng Malakanyang', or Malacanan Palace on the Pasig River in the San Miguel district of Manila.

It has been home to 18 Spanish Governor-Generals, 14 American civil Governors and 9 Philippine Presidents, starting with Manual Quezon.



Fifty Pesos / Limampung Piso


This shows Sergio Osmena (1878 - 1961), who took over as Philippine President after the death of Manuel Quezon.

He was known for leading the Philippines to recovery after the second world war.

Front View
50 Pesos Front
Back View
50 Pesos Back
This illustration is entitled 'Dating Gusali Ng Batasan'. It depicts the former Senate building in Manila.


One Hundred Pesos / Sandaang Piso






This depicts Manuel A Roxas (1892 - 1948). He was the last President of the Philippine Commonwealth, and the first President of the 3rd Republic.

Front View
100 Pesos Front
Back View
100 Pesos Back

This shows an aerial view of the 'Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas'. This is situated in Manila and is responsible for minting and printing the Philippine currency.



Five Hundred Pesos / Limandaang Piso


This shows Benigno 'Ninoy' S. Aquino Jr. He was assassinated on 21st August 1983 at Manila International Airport, an event which triggered the people to unite against the martial law of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The dove conceptualizes freedom. The typewriter seen on the far right side represents the equipment he used when he was a newspaperman.

Front View
500 Pesos Front
Back View
500 Pesos Back

The reverse side of the note conceptualizes the ideals and aspirations of Ninoy for a democratic and peaceful country. We see the Filipino Christians, Muslim brothers and the religious hand in hand, a boy and a lady offering flowers to the military, an interpretation of reconciliation; and a dove that made possible a peaceful revolution. Shown also is a bill Ninoy sponsored - "The Study Now Pay Later Plan" which pictures his concern for the education of the youth. Other illustrations depict Ninoy as a war correspondent in Korea and as a Governor in Tarlac where he held office at the Tarlac Capitol, Concepcion Municipal Hall.





One Thousand Pesos / Sanlibong Piso


This depicts three Philippine Patriots. Jose Abad Santos (1886 - 1942), Vicente Lim (1888 - 1945) and Josefa Llanes Escoda (1898 - 1945).

Jose Abad Santos became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1941. He was captured and tortured by the Japanese. He would not renounce his allegiance to the USA and so was shot and killed. Vicente Lim was a Philippine General, a hero, martyr and the first Filipino graduate of west Point. Josefa Llanes Escoda was the founder of the Philippine Girl Scouts.

Front View
1000 Pesos Front
Back View
1000 Pesos Back

This shows scenes of 'Hagdan-Hagdang Palayan ng Banawe', the Banaue Rice Terraces, considered the eight wonder of the world. The rice terraces were said to have existed for the last two thousands years.

'Manunggul' which is a terra cotta jar, three thousand years old and considered one of the finest pieces of Asian art. The figurines are souls sailing a spirit boat into the next world.

Langgal is sometimes called Ranggar by the Maranaos in the South. It is a Muslim place of worship.

These three vignettes project a new cultural image of the greatness of the Filipino people here and abroad.


Additional Information

KKK stands for 'Kataastaasan Kagalang-galang na Katipunan nang manga Anak nang Bayan' - Katipunan for short. It was a secret society started by Andres Bonifacio and his two friends Ladislao Diwa and Teodoro Plata.

There is now a 100,000 peso banknote, which is officially the largest in the world, and which is to commemorate the Centennial. I think only 1000 will be printed. Don't expect to see one on this page!!

Exchange rates are currently approximately:

Special thanks to Erlinda Bagas for her help in researching some information on the 500 and 1000 peso notes.
Maraming salamat Erlinda!!

Banknote Related Links

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
A great place to buy Philippine and other World Banknotes
Bank Of England Banknotes Page
Robbys Collection of World Banknotes
Bob Butler's Numismatic and Philatelic Page
World Coin Catalog

Go to Michael and Gina's Home Page...