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Understanding the Philippine Peso: The Currency of the Philippines

History of the Philippine Peso

The origins of the Philippine Peso trace back to the Spanish colonial period, when the 'Real de a Ocho' or 'Spanish dollar' circulated within the country. Throughout the centuries, the country has seen various forms of currency, transitioning from the Spanish influence to the establishment of its own distinct money system.

Structure of the Currency

Today's currency includes a range of banknotes and coins:

Coins: Presently, coins are issued in denominations of ₱1, ₱5, ₱10, and ₱20, alongside smaller centavo coins of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢.

Banknotes: These are available in denominations of ₱20, ₱50, ₱100, ₱200, ₱500, and ₱1000. Each note features prominent Filipino heroes and iconic natural wonders or cultural sites, often also showcasing endemic species.

Exchanging Currency

For travelers heading to the Philippines, currency can be exchanged at airports, banks, and authorized money exchange services. Visitors are encouraged to exchange money only at reputable outlets and to be aware of the current exchange rates to ensure fair transactions.

Usage and Accessibility

The Peso is widely used across all transactions within the Philippines. Understanding the currency is critical for anyone doing business in the country or for tourists navigating expenses throughout their travels. While credit and debit cards are accepted in urban areas, cash is often necessary in smaller towns and rural areas.

In summary, the Philippine Peso is more than just a means of exchange; it is a representation of the country's history, culture, and economic development.

Tips and Additional Information on Currency of the Philippines 

  • Collect the small denomination coins that you get because you’ll need those to pay street vendors and drivers. Don’t pay them with large denominations.
  • It is considered a great disrespect if the currency falls on the ground or you accidentally step on a note or coin. Be careful about that. 
  • Tipping in the Philippines is not much of a trend but is expected at times. You can tip up to 20-40 pesos to the bellman or the waiters. 
  • It is advisable to carry some US dollars with you for safety. 
  • Identity theft is also a problem in the Philippines, so make sure you keep your money in a safe place. 

Origin of the Philippines Peso

Major trade in the Philippines before the arrival of the Spanish was done via barter with nations such as China, Java, Thailand, and Borneo. But since this method grew incredibly inconvenient, the first local coinage system was introduced: "piloncitos." Centuries of use were spent on this little gold piece device. The Spanish arrived in the Philippines in 1521 and brought coins as a means of payment. But since different Spanish nations used those coins all over the world, they were discontinued.

The first local currency was issued in 1898 following the Philippines' independence, but it was short-lived as the US seized the nation in 1901 and created a new currency that was exactly equal to half of the US dollar. Japan made another modification during World War II, which confused people and became known as Mickey Mouse notes. The Philippine Peso was once again made the national currency when the Central Bank of the Philippines was founded in 1949.

Knowing the fundamentals of money in the Philippines will help you simply arrange a low-cost vacation and take advantage of the nation's beaches and atmosphere!