Alpha Sharmaine V. Salonga
November 12, 2010
THE EVOLUTION OF PHILIPPINE CURRENCY
The evolution of the Philippine currency has become a journey through centuries that began in the pre-colonization periods and continued up to now in our modern days. During the Pre-hispanic era, trading of goods was conducted through barter. Later on, its inconvenience led to the use of mediums of exchange such as gold, piloncitos, gold barter rings. These are believed to be the earliest coins of the ancient Filipinos.
In 1521-1897, the period where the Spanish regime ruled for 300 years, Philippine money was a multiplicity of currencies that included Mexican pesos, Alfonsino pesos and copper coins of other currencies. The cobs or macuquinas of colonial mints were the earliest coins brought in by the galleons from Mexico and other Spanish colonies. The silver dos mundos or pillar dollar is considered one of the world’s most beautiful coins. The barilla, a crude bronze or copper coin worth about one centavo, was the first coin struck in the country. The pesos fuertes, issued by the country’s first bank, the El Banco Espanol Filipino de Isabel II, were the first paper money circulated in the country. On the other hand, counterstamping reached the Philippines as well. Gold coins with the portrait of Queen Isabela and silver pesos with the profile of young Alfonso XIII were minted in Manila.
Meanwhile, when the Philippines asserted its independence, the Philippine Republic of 1898 under General Emilio Aguinaldo issued its own coins and paper currency backed by the country’s natural resources. One peso and five peso notes printed as Republika Filipina Papel Moneda de Un Peso and Cinco Pesos were freely circulated. 2 centimos de peso copper were also issued in 1899.
Once again, Philippines was invaded by another country during the American period. By this time, the Americans instituted a monetary system for the Philippine based on gold and pegged the Philippine...
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