Exchange Currency

Philippine peso

The Philippine peso is the currency of the Philippines. It is subdivided into 100 centavos. Before 1967, the language used on the banknotes and coins was English and so "peso" was the name used. The language was then changed to Filipino, so that the name of the currency as written on the banknotes and coins is now Piso.

The peso is usually denoted by the symbol "₱". This symbol was added to the Unicode standard in version 3.2 and is assigned U+20B1 (₱). The symbol can be accessed through some word processors by typing in "20b1" and then pressing the Alt and X buttons simultaneously. Other ways of writing the Philippine Peso sign are "PHP", "PhP", "P", or "P" (strikethrough or double-strike-through uppercase P), which is still the most common method, however font support for the Unicode Peso sign has been around for some time.

Summary info

Summary information about Philippine peso
ISO 4217 Code:
Currency sign:
1 sentimo, 5 sentimo, 10 sentimo, 25 sentimo, 1 peso, 5 piso, 10 piso
20 piso, 50 piso, 100 piso, 200 piso, 500 piso, 1000 piso
Central bank:
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas


The Spaniards brought their coined money when they came in 1521 and the first European coin which reaches the Philippine Islands with Magellan's arrival was the teston or four-reales silver coin. The teston became the de facto unit of trade between Spaniards and Filipinos before the founding of Manila in 1574. The native name for the coin was salapi (Tagalog for money).

With the establishment of Manila, the Spanish introduced the silver Real de a ocho, already known across the Spanish Empire colloquially as the peso, which was divided into 8 Reales and further subdivided into 4 Quartos or 8 Octavos.

The monetary situation in the Philippine Islands was chaotic due to the circulation of many types of coins, with differing purity and weights, coming from mints across the Spanish-speaking world. Spanish coins circulated freely with those from the newly independent Spanish colonies including reales fuertes, reales de vellón, peseta columnaria, peseta sencilla, pesos de minas, tomines, ducados, maravedis among others. Value equivalents of the different monetary systems were usually difficult to comprehend and hindered trade and commerce.

An attempt to remedy the monetary confusion was made in 1848, with the introduction of the decimal system in 1857 under the second Isabelline monetary system. Overseeing the conversion was Fernándo Norzagaray y Escudero, governor general in the period 1857-60.

Conversion to the decimal system with the peso fuerte (Spanish for strong peso) as the unit of account solved the accounting problem, but did little to remedy the confusion of differing circulating coinage. Renewed calls for the Philippine Islands to have a proper mint and monetary system finally came to fruition in September 1857, when Queen Isabel II authorized the creation of the Casa de Moneda de Manila and purchase of required machinery. The mint was inaugurated on March 19, 1861.

Despite the mintage of gold and silver coins, Mexican and South and Central American silver still circulated widely.

The Isabelline Peso, more formally known as the peso fuerte was a unit of account divided into 100 centimos equivalent to 8 reales fuertes or 80 reales de vellón. Its introduction led to the Philippines' brief experiment with the gold standard, which would not again be attempted until the American Colonial Period. The Peso Fuerte was also a unit of exchange equivalent to 1.69 grams of gold, 0.875 fine (0.0476 XAU), equivalent to ₱2,934.31 modern pesos of as of 22 December 2010. Coin production at the Casa de Moneda de Manila began in 1861 with gold coins (0.875 fine) of three denominations: 4 pesos, 2 pesos, and 1 peso. On March 5, 1862, Isabel II granted the mint permission to produce silver fractional coinage (0.900 fine) in denominations of 10, 20, and 50 centimos de peso. Minting of these coins started in 1864, with designs similar to the Spanish Silver Escudo.

A final attempt to standardize the currency in the Philippines was made by the Spanish government with the minting of a silver peso expressly for use in the colony and firmly establishing the silver standard as the Philippine monetary system. The coin, which was to be later known as the Spanish-Filipino peso, was minted in Madrid in 1897 and bore the bust of King Alfonso XIII. The specifications of the coin was 25 grams of silver .900 fine. This configuration was also used in the creation of the Puerto Rican provincial peso in 1895 giving both coins the equivalency of 5 pesetas.

The new monetary standard finally established the Peso as 25 grams silver, 0.900 fine (0.7234 XAG), equivalent to ₱942.535 modern pesos of as of 22 December 2010.

The Spanish-Filipino peso remained in circulation and were legal tender in the islands until 1904, when the American authorities demonetized them in favor of the new US-Philippine peso.

Asserting its independence after the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12, 1898, the República Filipina (Philippine Republic) under General Emilio Aguinaldo issued its own coins and paper currency backed by the country’s natural resources. The coins were the first to use the name centavo for the subdivision of the peso. The island of Panay also issued revolutionary coinage. After Aguinaldo's capture by American forces in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901, the revolutionary peso ceased to exist.

After the United States took control of the Philippines, the United States Congress passed the Philippine Coinage Act (March 3, 1903), established the unit of currency to be a theoretical gold peso (not coined) consisting of 12.9 grains of gold 0.900 fine (0.026875 XAU), equivalent to ₱2,933.07 modern pesos of as of 22 December 2010. This unit was equivalent to exactly half the value of a U.S. dollar and maintained its purchasing power until the opening day of the Central Bank of the Philippines in 1949.

The act provided for the coinage and issuance of Philippine silver pesos substantially of the weight and fineness as the Mexican peso, which should be of the value of 50 cents gold and redeemable in gold at the insular treasury, and which was intended to be the sole circulating medium among the people. The act also provided for the coinage of subsidiary and minor coins and for the issuance of silver certificates in denominations of not less than 2 nor more than 10 pesos.

It also provided for the creation of a gold-standard fund to maintain the parity of the coins so authorized to be issued and authorized the insular government to issue temporary certificates of indebtedness bearing interest at a rate not to exceed 4 per cent per annum, payable not more than one year from date of issue, to an amount which should not at any one time exceed 10 millions of dollars or 20 millions of pesos.

In 1942, the Japanese occupiers introduced notes for use in the Philippines. Emergency circulating notes (also termed "guerrilla pesos") were also issued by banks and local governments, using crude inks and materials, which were redeemable in silver pesos after the end of the war. The Japanese-sponsored Second Philippine Republic under José P. Laurel outlawed possession of guerrilla currency and declared a monopoly on the issuance of money and anyone found to possess guerrilla notes could be arrested. Because of the fiat nature of the currency, the Philippine economy felt the effects of hyperinflation.

Combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth military forces including recognized guerrilla units continued printing Philippine pesos, so that, from October 1944 to September 1945, all earlier issues except for the emergency guerrilla notes were considered illegal and were no longer legal tender.

Republic Act No. 265 created the Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP, now the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) on January 3, 1949, in which was vested the power of administering the banking & credit system of the country. Under the act, all powers in the printing and mintage of Philippine currency was vested in the CBP, taking away the rights of the banks such as Bank of the Philippine Islands and the Philippine National Bank to issue currency.

In a repeat of Japanese wartime monetary policy, the government defaulted on its promises to redeem its banknotes in silver or gold coin while promising to maintain the two-to-one peso to dollar parity. This decision, compounded with the deliberate overprinting of fiat banknotes, resulted in the peso dropping in value by almost 300% against the US dollar within the first three hours of opening day. The government effort to maintain the peg devastated the gold, silver and dollar reserves of the country.

By 1964, the bullion value of the old silver pesos was worth almost twelve times their face value and were being hoarded by Filipinos rather than being surrendered to the government at face value. In desperation, then-President Diosdado Macapagal demonetized the old silver coins and floated the currency. The peso has been a floating currency ever since, which means that the currency is a physical representation of the domestic debt and whose value directly tied to people's perception of the stability of the current regime and its ability to repay the debt.

From the opening of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in 1949, successive governments have continued to devalue the currency to lower the accumulated domestic debt in real terms, which in December 2005 reached ₱4.02 trillion. Many Filipinos perceive the peso's value in relation to the US dollar — rather than consider the currency's purchasing power — and thus tend to blame whatever regime is in power for the worsening exchange rate.

In 1967, the language used on all coins and banknotes was changed to Tagalog. As a consequence, the wordings of the currency changed from centavo and peso to sentimo and piso.


The American Government deemed it more economical and convenient to mint silver coins in the Philippines, hence, the re-opening of the Manila Mint in 1920, which produced coins until the Commonwealth period.

In 1937, coin designs were changed to reflect the establishment of the Commonwealth. No coins were minted in the years 1942 and 1943 due to the Japanese occupation, but minting resumed in 1944, including production of 50 centavos coins. Due to the large number of coins issued between 1944 and 1947, coins were not minted again until 1958.

In 1958, a new, entirely base metal coinage was introduced, consisting of bronze 1 centavo, brass 5 centavos and nickel-brass 10, 25 and 50 centavos. In 1967, the coinage was altered to reflect the use of Filipino names for the currency units. 1-peso coins were introduced in 1972. In 1975, the "Ang Bagong Lipunan" series was introduced with the 5-peso coins included. Aluminium replaced bronze and cupro-nickel replaced nickel-brass that year. The Flora and Fauna series was introduced in 1983 which included 2-peso coins. The sizes of the coins were reduced in 1991, with production of 50-centavo and 2-peso coins ceasing in 1994. The current series of coins was introduced in 1995, with 10-peso coins added in 2000.

Denominations below 1 peso are still issued but are not in wide use. In December 2008 a Philippine Congress resolution called for the retirement and demonetization of all coins less than one peso.


In 1949, the Central Bank of the Philippines took over paper money issue. Its first notes were overprints on the Victory Treasury Certificates. These were followed in 1951 by regular issues in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 pesos. The centavo notes (except for the 50-centavo note, which would be later known into the half-peso note) were discontinued in 1958 when the English Series coins were first minted.

In 1967, the CBP adopted the Filipino language on its currency, using the name Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and in 1969 introduced the "Pilipino Series" of notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos. The "Ang Bagong Lipunan Series" was introduced in 1973 and included 2-peso notes. A radical change occurred in 1985, when the CBP issued the "New Design Series" with 500-peso notes introduced in 1987, 1000-peso notes (for the first time) in 1991 and 200-peso notes in 2002.

In 2009 the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas announced that has launched a massive redesign for current banknotes and coins to further enhance security features and improve durability. The members of the numismatic committee include Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo and Dr. Ambeth Ocampo Chairman of the National Historical Institute. The new banknote designs feature famous Filipinos and iconic natural wonders. Philippine national symbols will be depicted on coins. The BSP started releasing the initial batch of new banknotes in December 2010 while new coins will be introduced beginning 2012. Current banknotes will remain legal tender for at least three years exactly in December 2013.

In 2005, several 100-peso notes with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's surname misspelled as "Arrovo" were in circulation. Days after this was first found out, the BSP ordered an investigation.

PHP banknotes pictures gallery

20 Philippine piso
Banknote of 20 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are sunset, persian orange, fawn, macaroni, cheese, peach puff, pale pink, melon and champagne and floral white. The banknote of 20 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
20 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 20 Philippine piso is showing the portrait of Manuel L. Quezon, Declaration of Filipino as the national language and Malacañan Palace.
20 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 20 Philippine piso is showing the Banaue Rice Terraces, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus philippinensis, Palm civet and Cordilleras weave design.

50 Philippine piso
Banknote of 50 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are salmon pink, dark salmon, pink sherbet, bubble gum, tea rose, apricot and snow. The banknote of 50 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
50 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 50 Philippine piso is showing the portrait of Sergio Osmeña, First Philippine Assembly, Leyte Landing.
50 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 50 Philippine piso is showing the Taal Lake in Batangas, Caranx ignobilis, maliputo (Giant trevally) and Batangas embroidery design.

100 Philippine piso
Banknote of 100 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are lilac, light slate gray, toolbox, charcoal, pastel purple, languid lavender, ivory and thistle. The banknote of 100 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
100 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 100 Philippine piso is showing the portrait of Manuel A. Roxas, Old BSP building in Intramuros, Manila, Inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic.
100 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 100 Philippine piso is showing the Mayon Volcano in Albay, butanding, Rhincodon typus, whale shark and Bicol textile design.

200 Philippine piso
Banknote of 200 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are tea green, shadow, cambridge blue, pastel brown, light goldenrod yellow, pale silver, white smoke and snow. The banknote of 200 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
200 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 200 Philippine piso is showing the portrait of Diosdado P. Macapagal, EDSA People Power 2001, Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, Barasoain Church in Malolos and Bulacan.
200 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 200 Philippine piso is showing Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Tarsius syrichta, Philippine tarsier and Visayas weave design.

500 Philippine piso
Banknote of 500 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are jasmine, brass, fawn, pastel yellow, french beige, pale gold, tan, light yellow and snow. The banknote of 500 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
500 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 500 Philippine piso is showing the portrait of Corazon C. Aquino, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., EDSA People Power I, Benigno Aquino monument in Makati City.
500 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 500 Philippine piso is showing Subterranean Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Tanygnathus lucionensis, blue-naped parrot and Southern Philippines cloth design.

1000 Philippine piso
Banknote of 1000 Philippine piso has dimensions 160×66 mm and main colors are pale cornflower blue, carolina blue, ceil, pale cerulean, twilight lavender, taupe gray, pastel blue, desert sand and splashed white. The banknote of 1000 Philippine piso was issued on the 16 December 2010.
1000 Philippine piso (Obverse)
Obverse side of the 1000 Philippine piso is showing the portraits of José Abad Santos, Vicente Lim and Josefa Llanes Escoda. On the banknote also is showing the Centennial celebration of Philippine independence, Medal of Honor, which was awarded to Abad Santos, Lim, and Escoda.
1000 Philippine piso (Reverse)
Reverse side of the 1000 Philippine piso is showing the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea, Pinctada maxima, South Sea pearl and Mindanao design for T'nalak (Ikat-dyed abaca).

Useful links

About Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas:
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
List of currencies:
Security and design features of PHP banknotes:
PHP banknotes
PHP currency on Wikipedia:
Philippine peso
Official Website of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas:
Commemorative coins:
Commemorative Coins