National News

National Heritage Month

5000 Peso Bill

5000 Peso Bill: The National Quincentennial Committee, in a social media post, remembers May as the National Heritage Month and bares its theme for the 2021 celebration: Victory and Humanity. The committee also bared its 5000-peso commemorative banknote.

“Lapulapu’s memory is part of what our forebears bequeathed to us–it can be in a form of history (through verifiable accounts), perspective (like how he was celebrated by the founders of the Filipino nation in 1898), or folklore (stories engendered through generations owing to lack of historical details). We identify with him and acknowledge him as ours. He is part of our consciousness, our imagination, our pride, our being, our becoming.” – an excerpt from a post made by the National Quincentennial Committee on social media.

The committee credits the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Quincentennial Committee Secretariat’s efforts in the development of the banknote. They also acknowledge the following individuals who were pivotal in the process: archaeologist Eusebio Dizon, Visayan historian Rolando Borrinaga, Visayan anthropologist-archaeologist Jose Eleazar Bersales, Visayan historian-anthropologist Vicente Villan, and art historian Patrick Flores.

5000 Peso Bill: The commemorative banknote’s design teaches not just about the towering personage of 1521 that is Lapulapu but pre-colonial history as well. The blurb of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the back of the special folder reads “The quincentennial is an opportune time to promote appreciation of the world of our pre-colonial ancestors such as their way of life, worldview, and belief system based on historical sources. Understanding them helps us discern the process of our becoming and being Filipino.”

Here, the committee explains the 5000-peso bill:

  • Since its launching in 2010, the New Generation Currency Series features baybayin, an ancient Philippine script. The typeface is designed by Paul Morrow in the early 2000s. The Battle of Mactan, design inspired by the sketch for the National Quincentennial Committee by muralist Derrick Macutay.
  • Even though the Battle of Mactan was fought terrestrially (and by the shore of Mactan), BSP, NHCP, NQC, and the consultants agreed to feature karakoa, the 16th century Southeast Asia colossal warship, to symbolize the might of our seafaring ancestors. The design was inspired by the sketch commissioned by eminent Philippine historian William Henry Scott, published in his book Barangay: Sixteenth-century Philippine Culture and Society (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994).
  • The 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines, a product of combined designs of NHCP resident illustrators Mary Lyn Dioso and Rely Coquia. The gold disc earing of a typical pre-colonial ruler. Examples of which are on display at the Ayala Museum. Similar material culture is still flourishing among our indigenous peoples of Mindanao. Typical to the New Generation Currency Series is the outline of the Philippine map. This one is distinct from the rest of the series because Batanes Group of Islands is present.
  • The return of the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) in the currency. The NHCP, with the support of Visayan historian Rolando Borrinaga, recommended to the BSP the use of the word ‘manaol’ to refer to the indigenous name of the species. According to Negrense folklore, all creatures, including the first man and woman, came from an eagle.
  • Previously featured on the two-peso coin, the coconut tree was restored owing to its significance in the Philippine part of the first circumnavigation of the world, 500 years ago. Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of the Magellan-Elcano expedition, wrote a lot about the tree. It was among the nourishment of the starving, shabby, undernourished, dehydrated, and dying crew of the expedition when these foreigners reached the land of our ancestors via Homonhon 500 years ago. BSP heeded the recommendation of Dr. Borrinaga to use the Visayan word ‘lubi’ as the indigenous name for the coconut.
  • The New Generation Currency Series features Philippine indigenous textiles. In this banknote, BSP adopted the recommendation of the NHCP to feature the tattoo patterns of the 16th-century natives of the Visayas documented by the Boxer Codex. Eventually, the patik (tattooing) tradition in the Visayas became patterns of the indigenous textiles, like in the hablon of Panay.
  • Mt. Apo, the highest point of the Philippines. This is to represent Mindanao in the Philippine banknote. It also represents Mindanao as the landmark of the first circumnavigation of the world, 500 years ago, in locating the Maluku, an island group in present-day Indonesia, just south of Mindanao, which was the ultimate objective of the Magellan-Elcano expedition.

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