On June 12, 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo, representing Filipino revolutionary forces, proclaimed the Philippines Declaration of Independence in Cavite el Viejo which is now Kawit, Cavite. This historic declaration marked the end of 300 years of Spanish colonial rule and asserted the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands, paving the way for the establishment of the First Philippine Republic.  

Philippines 5 Piso | 1985-1994 ND | TAP 60-70 Authenticated | Source: Banknote World

On the obverse of the Philippines 5 Piso banknote from 1985-1994 is a portrait of Andres Bonifacio who played a key role in inciting the August 1896 revolt against Spanish rule. Bonifacio advocated complete independence for the Philippines. In 1892, he established the Katipunan in Manila, modeling it after the Masonic order in terms of structure and rituals. The reverse illustrates Emilio Aguinaldo waving the national flag from his balcony in Kawit, Cavite, declaring independence.  

Andres Bonifacio Who Led the Cry of Pugad Lawin | Source: Wikimedia

 In August 1896, Bonifacio led the Cry of Pugad Lawin which marked the start of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire. The Cry of Pugad Lawin is depicted on the obverse of the Philippine 100,000 Pesos Banknote. Members of the Katipunan tore up their community tax certificates in rejection of Spanish allegiance and fought against the Spanish Civil Guards. However, Andres Bonifacio and his forces were defeated by Spanish troops.  

Philippines 100,000 Pesos Banknote, 1998 | Source: Banknote World

When Andres Bonifacio subsequently retreated, his lieutenant, Emilio Aguinaldo continued the resistance effort. On the reverse of the 100,000 peso banknote is General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaiming independence. The note was issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines in 1998 in a limited quantity of 1,000 pieces only, to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Philippine Independence. With dimensions of 355.6 mm and 215.9 mm, the Philippine 100,000 Pesos Banknote was the largest legal tender banknote ever issued until the 2017 Malaysia 6,000 Ringgit note which is 370 mm x 220 mm in size.  

Philippines 10 Piso Banknote, 1985-1994 ND | Source: Banknote World

Apolinario Mabini, portrayed on the obverse of the 1985-1994 Philippine 10 Piso banknote, also played a significant role in shaping the foundation of the First Philippine Republic despite being paralyzed. Even after the Declaration of Independence, he continued to serve as the chief adviser for General Aguinaldo and served as the Prime Minister of the Philippines under President Emilio Aguinaldo’s government. His works, particularly the “La Revolucion Filipina” and the “True Decalogue” which is also depicted on the banknote’s obverse along with an inkwell and a quill, provided a moral and philosophical foundation for the Philippine revolution. The reverse of the note features the Barasoain Roman Catholic Church in Bulacan which and the site of the First Philippine Republic.  

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