As noted in the primer on the New Generation Currency, Philippine banknotes contain design elements that pay tribute to Filipinos who played significant roles at various moments of our nation’s history. World heritage sites and iconic natural wonders of the Philippines are also proudly highlighted. These are the design highlights for each of the banknotes, reproduced from the documents issued by the central Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas:
The design highlights at the obverse or “front” of the 20-piso banknote is President Manuel L. Quezon; Filipino as the National Language declared in 1935; Malacanang Palace; and Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
The reverse of the 20-peso banknote shows the Banaue Rice Terraces, which structures were carved out of the mountains of the Cordilleras around 2,000 years ago by ancestors of the Filipino. The palm civets in the Cordilleras, which are famous for producing one of the best and most expensive coffee varieties in the world. On the right side is a weave design from the Cordilleras.
The obverse design highlight of the 50-piso is President Sergio Osmena; First National Assembly in 1907; Leyte Landing; Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
At the reverse or “back” side, the highlights are: (a) Taal Lake in Batangas, which is the deepest freshwater lake in the Philippines and the host to active Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest volcano; (b) The Giant Trevally, locally known as Maliputo, a delicious milky fish, which thrives only in the waters of the lake, together with the tawilis, which is the world’s only freshwater sardine that only thrives in Taal Lake; (c) On the right is a design highlight from an embroidery handcrafted in Batangas province.
Design highlights on the obverse is President Manuel A. Roxas, as well as the Central Bank of the Philippines circa 1949; the Inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines on 4 July 1946; and Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
The reverse contains Mayon Volcano as the design highlight, together with the Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus). The Bicol Region is famous for majestic Mayon Volcano, the country’s most active volcano which has a near perfect cone. Mayon is found in Legazpi City, Albay. The whale shark or “butanding“, the world’s largest living fish, is the main attraction in Donsol, Sorsogon. These gentle giants regularly visit the waters of Sorsogon to mate and to feed on plankton abundant in Donsol River. On the right side is a detail from a design for an indigenous textile crafted in the Bicol Region.
The design highlights on the obverse of the 200-piso bill are President Diosdado P. Macapagal; EDSA People Power II, Independence House; Barasoain Church; Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
Design highlights on the reverse side are the Bohol Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier (Tarsius Syrichta). The famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol are verdant green mounds during the rainy season that turn to chocolate brown at the end of the dry season. Numbering about 1,268 hills, they rise to 30 to 50 meters. The Philippine tarsier is described as one of the world’s smallest primates; it can fit comfortably in one’s hands. It can be found in Bohol and Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. On the right is a highlight from a design handcrafted in the Visayas in Central Philippines.
The obverse side contains the following design highlights: Icons of Democracy, President Corazon C. Aquino and Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr; the EDSA People Power I in February 1986; Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Monument; Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
Design highlights at the reverse side: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site); and the Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnathus Lucionensis). The 8-kilometer Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan winds through a cave that has major formations of stalactites and stalagmites that fascinate and mesmerize. Declared a sa UNESCO World Heritage Sie, the place has a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem that is also home to rare animals such as the Philippine cockatoo and the Palawan mouse deer. The rare Blue-naped Parrot thrives in the lush forests of Palawan and Mindoro. Parrots are known to be friendly, gentle and intelligent. On the right is a design highlight from a wooven cloth from Southern Philippines.
Design highlights on the obverse side are: War HeroesJosefa Llanes Escoda, Jose Abad Santos and Vicente Lim; the Centennial of Philippine Independence in 1998; the Medal of Valor; and the Seal of the President and the New BSP Seal.
On the reverse is the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the South Sea Pearl (Pinctada Maxima). The 130,000 hectare Tubbataha Reef Marine Park in Sulu Sea is one of the Philippines’ oldest ecosystems. It is home to a great diversity of marine life: whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles are among the key species found here. The reef ecosystems support over 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it plays a key role in the reproduction, dispersal and colonization by marine organisms in the whole Sulu Sea system and in the biological processes, displaying process of coral reef formation, and supporting marine species dependent on reef ecosystems. The present of tiger and hammerhead sharks, which are top predator species, indicates the ecological balance of the property.
Sulu Sea is part of the South Seas, whic are the natural habitat of oysters that produce the largest pearls grown in the world — the Pinctada maxima. The colors of these treasures from the sea range from white to silver and golden.
On the right side is the highlight of design for Tinalak or Ikat-dyed abaca, which is woven in Mindanao in Southern Philippines.