The Philippine Peso

Philippine Peso is the national currency in the Philippines – “piso” to Filipinos. The Central Bank of the Philippines issues banknotes and coins for circulation being the sole authority to print and produce the country’s legal tender. These bills and coins depict faces of heroes and presidents with famous structures on the obverse side and historical events and national treasures on the reverse side. The Philippine Peso sign resembles a double-stroked Latin letter P (₱).The Philippine Peso signs being used in writing are “PHP”, “PhP” and “P”. In wide circulation, current denominations in notes and coins are as follow:


  • 20.00       (twenty pesos)
  • 50.00       (fifty pesos)
  • 100.00     (one hundred pesos)
  • 500.00     (five hundred pesos)
  • 1,000.00  (one thousand pesos)


  • 1 centavo
  • 5 centavos
  • 10 centavos
  • 25 centavos
  • 1.00 (one peso)
  • 5.00 (five pesos)
  • 10.00 (ten pesos)
Philippine peso


Like Argentina and Mexico, this currency is brought by the influence of Spain’s colonization in the Philippines.  The first commercial bank of the Philippines El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel 2A  (renamed Bank of the Philippine Islands in 1912) issued the denominations of 10, 25, 50 and 200 pesos fuertes (strong pesos) on May 1, 1852 and were used until 1896.

In 1903, being an American colony under Insular Government, the Philippines got new bill currencies called the Silver Certificates in denominations 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 pesos and was replaced by the Treasury Certificates  in 1918 with bonds backed and issued by the United States Government.

From 1949 to 1969, English Series banknotes circulated in which the only time English language was used for printing the Philippine peso bills.  From 1969 to 1973, Pilipino series banknotes were issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines. Followed by the Ang Bagong Lipunan series (literally “The New Society Series”) from 1973-1985. By 1993, the BSP Series was issued followed by the New Generation Currency series in 2010.  Some of the BSP Series banknotes are still used nowadays and denominations of the New Generation Currency series are the most recent ones used in effect as legal tender.

Exchange Rate

Before visiting the 7, 107 islands of the Philippines, get a hold of some fast information about currency exchange.  It pays a lot to be prepared and knowledgeable to the different exchange rates or conversions of your own currency to peso.  Below are the most updated exchange rates for 2015:

Getting Philippine Peso as a Tourist

Having your traveler’s cheques and travel cards and other sorts of plastic money won’t spare and guarantee you hassle-free monetary transactions. If you opt to visit far-flung provinces in this country, chances are you’ll find establishments which operates and transacts business in cash basis only.  Have your currency converted to peso in money changers found in hotels and airports. Money changers around the city offer a better value than those mentioned earlier. Have your own currencies in bigger bills because they always have better rate equivalent (e.g. $100 exchange rate is greater than your 10 $10 bills).

Your ATM can definitely help you in times you ran out of cash as you’ll see it everywhere across the city. No extra fees are charged using foreign ATM on booths offering international bank ATMs like HSBC, Citibank, Maybank, Standard Chartered Bank, ChinaTrust, etc.  Foreigners can use their cards on Philippines local bank ATMs that hold marks of Visa electron, Plus or Bancnet logos but beware of its ₱200.00 surcharge and withdrawal limits and long queues especially on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 15th, 25th and 30th of the month .  New machines will return your ATM card after entering your PIN before completing your transaction, so be heedful on your withdrawals.