What is the currency of the Philippines?

Philippines new generation currency

What is the currency of the Philippines?

The currency of the Philippines is Philippine Peso which is also known locally as Piso. The peso sign is ₱, PhP or just simply P.

Philippine Peso exchange rate is 1 US dollar equals to about 43 Philippine Peso. And 1 Euro is about 58 in Philippine currency.

What are the Philippine Peso Denominations?

The coin denominations of the Philippine currency are: 1c, 5c, 10c, and 25c, 1 peso, and 5 pesos. The bill denominations of the Philippine currency are : 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 pesos.

Tip: When paying for small stores, bus, jeepney or tricycle fares always prepare smaller bills, a 100 pesos or less.

How to spot counterfeit Philippine Peso coins and bills?

Ok, so you are traveling to the Philippines and of course, you’ll need to exchange your dollars or euros or whatever currency you have and the last thing that you want to have is to get counterfeit Philippine peso and distribute it (which is punishable by law, btw). Although, fake money is not that rampant in the Philippines but it would still be useful to know some basics of spotting the counterfeit Philippine currency from the real ones. Fortunately, I used to be a bank teller and have some knowledge on ways of spotting counterfeit Philippine peso coins and bills.

Fake Philippine Peso coins

I think the 5 and 10 peso coins were the ones that have been counterfeited (counterfeiting one peso coins would just be useless and expensive). There are different ways to spot if the 5 and 10 peso coins are fake:

  • The fake Philippine coins stick to magnets. 5 and 10 peso coins are composed of copper, nickel, aluminum and zinc while their fake counterparts are made of steel.
  • The texture of fake Philippine coins are rough due to the poor quality produced by stamping machines used to make the coins.
  • Some details may be missing, uneven or overly pronounced like in the letters and numbers, the countours of the hair and the profile of the face.
  • Fake Philippine coins are lighter and tend to rust. This is again due to them being made up by steel.

Fake Philippine Peso Bills

During Christmas season, there are more fake Philippine peso bills that gets in circulation since it is the time of the year when Filipinos are spending lots of money buying gifts for everyone so it is the perfect time for syndicates to spread counterfeit philippine peso bills. Here are some ways to spot counterfeit Philippine Peso bills:

  • The paper should feel rough to touch.
  • Watermark/silhouette of the portrait on the face of the note which can be viewed against the light.
  • Security fibers are embedded red and blue visible fibers scattered at random on the surface and can be readily picked off by using any pointed instrument.
  • Security thread which appears vertically on the side of the note and with text indicating the numerical value of the Philippine peso bill.
  • Microprint is the best way to determine if the Philippine Peso Bill is genuine since it is extremely difficult to pull off. In the fake money, the ink used to print the microprint spreads in the surrounding and is not readable. Bank tellers checks for microprint since this is the easiest way to catch a fraud. The locations of microprints are indicated here  and the microprint text is “Central Bank of the Philippines or Bangko Sentral ng Philippines”.

For the new generation Philippine Peso bills:

Philippine new generation currency

Philippine new generation currency / Photo from bsp.gov.ph

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines’ central bank, release new notes last December 2010 with new design and improved security features. This vividly colored Philippine peso bills also features the different tourist destinations(yey!) in the country. Here are the security features of the new bills:

  • It feels more rough to touch since it is made up of cotton and Philippine abaca.
  • Increasing size of serial number
  • Security fibers
  • 2mm wide security thread for P20 and 4mm wide stitch-like metallic security thread for 100, 200, 500 and 1000 peso notes with the initials of the BSP and the numeric denomination
  • Watermark now includes not only the silhouette image of the portrait but also the denomination
  • Concealed value on the smaller version of the portrait
  • P500 and P1000 peso bill have optically variable device patch which changes color when viewed at different angles

Just to give you an idea how much some popular items cost in the Philippines:

a can of Coke: P20-P25 USD .60 cents
McDonald’s Big Mac: P125
Starbucks Hot Brewed Coffee (Tall): P95

Where can you exchange your foreign currency?

Foreign currency can be easily exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changer or pawnshops like Western Union, M Lhuillier and Cebuna Lhuillier.

Banks are known to offer not so good rates but it is the safest way since you’ll be sure that you won’t get scammed. The best rates can be found on the money changer shops and pawnshops.


  • Check the Philippine peso exchange rate online so you have an idea how much your money will be worth when exchanged.
  • Ask around fellow tourists or Filipino friends where you can exchange your money. The ones that I mentioned above are the reputable ones but there are many money changer shops that also provide good service, again ask around.
  • Make sure that the money changer shops post their philippine peso exchange rate and not suddenly change it.
  • Some money changers are too fast with their hands. They would trick you as they count your money, they take some bills back and count it again so you appear to receive more than you actually do.
  • Keep your money hidden

If you ran out of cash, you can use your ATM, debit or credit card. Most large stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express, Visas and MasterCard.

What foreign currencies can you exchange in the Philippines?

Overseas Filipino Workers are all over the world and sends money back to the Philippines so currencies like US dollars, British pounds, Euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, Japanese yen, ASEAN and Middle East currencies can easily be converted in money changers especially in Metro Manila and other major cities. In the rural areas, it might be difficult to exchange currencies other than the US dollar so just be prepared.

Bringing foreign currency in or out of the Philippines

Any person who brings into or out of the Philippines foreign currency in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent is required to declare the same in writing and to furnish information on the source and purpose of the transport of such currency.

Bringing in and taking out of the country Philippine currency in excess of 10,000 pesos

The taking in and bringing out of Philippines of Philippine currency in excess of PhP10,000 is strictly prohibited, and any need carry any currency in excess of the said amount must be given authorization by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Cash Division.

Violation of the 2 rules mentioned above may lead to seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.

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