The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago dispersed in the western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia. The island nation comprising of over 7,000 islands and islets is bordered by the Philippine Sea, the Celebes Sea, and the South China Sea. Situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire, the country hosts many volcanoes, such as the Taal Volcano and the Mayon Volcano, and a plethora of wildlife.
First Banknotes in Philippines
In 1521, The Philippines was claimed by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan for Spain. In 1543, the country was named Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Phillip II who was the king of Spain.
The country’s first commercial bank is the El Banco Espanol Filipino de Isabel II which was established in 1852. The bank issued pesos fuertes or “strong pesos” banknotes in the denominations of 10, 25, 50, and 200. In 1898, Spain ceded the archipelago to the United States, and in 1903, Silver Certificates were issued by the American colonial Insular Government.
During the Second World War, the Philippines was invaded by the Japanese Empire. In 1942, the Yokohama Specie Bank first introduced the “Foreign Denomination Military Certificates” and later by the Southern Development Bank.
Following the establishment of the Central Bank of the Philippines in 1949, a set of notes was issued. These were the 1944 Philippine Islands Treasury “Victory Notes” overprinted with “CENTRAL BANK / OF THE PHILIPPINES” on the reverse. In 1951, the bank introduced its first official banknotes that were referred to as the “English” series of 1949. Also in 1969, The Filipino Series that bears Filipino text was launched to finalized the Filipinization of the Philippine currency.
In 1973, another set of notes overprinted with “Ang Bagong Lipunan” and guilloche patterns on the watermark area was released.
Recent Philippine peso banknotes are in vibrant colors of orange, red, purple, green, yellow, and blue. Their obverse bear portraits of politicians and prominent leaders while the reverse depicts wildlife and attractions.