Philippine Peso (PHP)

The Philippine peso is the official currency of the Philippines. In Filipino (Tagalog), the official language of the Philippines, the currency is called piso. Since 1967 when the country was liberated from the United States, piso has been the name that’s printed on the banknotes and coins. English still remains one of the official languages in the country but Filipino is used in government settings.

1 Philippine peso is divided into 100 sentimos or centavos.

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Abbreviations of the Philippine Peso

The ISO-4217 code for the Philippine currency is PHP, and it can be written in many different versions. Some of the most popular versions are PHP, PhP, Php, P$, or just P. The currency also has its own official sign which is ₱. Even though the sign has been accepted internationally, it’s still hard to produce using a regular keyboard. Most users will have to copy and paste it from another source. In some word processing software, you can type 20b1 and then press Alt and X at the same time. 20B1 is the Unicode for the Philippine peso.

The Philippines is the only country in the world that uses its own sign for a currency called peso. In all other “peso nations” including Mexico the $ sign is used. Spain was another country using the $ for their peso before the euro was introduced.

Sentimos is usually shortened with the letter C or with the sign ¢. However, these denominations are rarely used and the need for sentimos is getting less and less.

Denominations of the Philippine Peso

There have been many different versions of the Philippine peso’s physical denominations such as the American and English versions of the coins, and the New Design series of banknotes. The money has come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and the system has at times been awfully confusing. The latest version of the denominations has been ridiculed for several mistakes that have been printed on them but we’ll talk more about that below.

Currently, these are the denominations that are in circulation in the Philippines.


  • 1 ¢
  • 5 ¢
  • 10 ¢
  • 25 ¢
  • ₱1
  • ₱2
  • ₱10


  • ₱20
  • ₱50
  • ₱100
  • ₱200
  • ₱500
  • ₱1,000


The current coins all belong to the 1995 series that was released between 1995 and 2004. Except for the size and the metal used they are all very similar in design. On the obverse side you’ll find the text “Republika ng Pilipinas”, its value, and the year of minting, and on the reverse side, you’ll find Bagnko Sentral ng Pilipina’s logo.

Note that all the sentimo coins are rarely used and expected to be taken out of circulation soon.

All the current legal tender banknotes in the Philippines were released in 2010, and they are called the New Generations Currency Series. However, up until July 2017 other banknotes for the last series were still in circulation. The latest version all have famous Filipinos and natural wonders on them.

Several serious mistakes have been found on the latest series of banknotes and they have been ridiculed all over the world for it. Some of the bills that have maps on the reverse side are missing big parts of the Philippines, others have areas misplaced. Many names, both personal and scientific, have been misspelled and so far nothing has been done to fix it.

It is considered one of the most failed currency series ever and it has hurt the reputation of the Philippines central bank forever.

History of the Philippine Peso

The first ever currencies to be used in the Philippines were all brought in by Spain during the colonial times. Among those currencies was the Spanish real (also called the first peso) as well as the Spanish dollar that was also used in the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong.

In 1861, the first Filipino peso was introduced under the name Philippine peso fuerte or Isabella peso, named after Queen Isabella II of Spain.

After the Spanish colonization, the United States created a new currency for the country and it was released in several different versions. The American version of the peso was used up until the Japanese invaded in 1942. They brought another currency that was so badly controlled that the country’s economy collapsed by 1945. After World War II had ended, the central bank of the Philippines tried to introduce a few different currencies but they all failed, mostly due to hyperinflation.

In 1987, they finally managed to create a working currency and it’s still considered to be the foundation for the modern peso. In 1993, the former central bank was replaced with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) and they have since issued and controlled the currency.

The Philippine Peso Today

Today the PHP is issued and controlled by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the minting is done at the Security Plant Complex in Quezon City.

It is not a very strong or influential currency. However, because of the tactical location of the Philippines many nations are keeping a close eye on it. Some of those nations include the United States, China, and Japan. The currency is also relatively influential in Southeast Asia, mostly because of the trading conducted between the countries.

The Philippine peso was pegged to the United States dollar (USD) for a very long time but is now a floating currency with a value based on the market.

Trade the Philippine Peso

Not many people trade with the Philippine peso because it is considered hard to predict and untrustworthy. Also, the country is located in an area where many of the world’s most traded currencies circulate which makes the interest in PHP even less. The surrounding mega currencies are the Hong Kong dollar (HKD), Chinese yuan (CNY), Japanese yen (JPY), Thai baht (THB), as well as the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and the Australian dollar (AUD).

There is only one currency that is really popular to buy the PHP with and that is the USD. Firstly because the USD is the single most traded currency on the forex market but also because the Philippines and the United States have had a long diplomatic relationship. This type of relationship is a factor that usually creates an interest in currency trading.