The “evolution of money in the Philippines” actually portrays the culture and civilization of the country in the past and up to the present. It symbolizes all events holding some vital information about the Philippine history.
“Bartering” or “direct barter exchange” was the very first trading method used in the ancient period of the Philippines. There was no money involved but they used an actual item to exchange it to another different product.
Let’s say for example that you have a rice field where you produce and harvest plenty of rice. However, you do not have poultry which means you crave for meats. What you have to do is to visit villages or a market trading place where you can look for other people who are willing to trade their meat products with your rice.
The main drawdown of barter exchange was the hassle of bringing your product around the market place. Try to imagine yourself carrying 50 kg of rice around just to make trades with other goods. This should make you realize that you are so lucky enough to be born and living in a generation where we now use money in the form of coins, papers and cards.
During the pre-colonial period, the ancient people of the Philippines finally realized that barter exchange was very inefficient for both parties. So they decided to come out with a better solution by using actual gold as their currencies. You might be surprised to know that at this ancient period of time, there were an abundant resource of gold in the entire nation.
Thus, gold were used as coins. Although, there was no particular shape or markings unlike the coins that we use today. They were just commonly shaped into rings or beads and that was it.
The Spaniards introduced the use of Silver Coins
In the 1520s, the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines changing the gold coins into “silver coins”. So where did all the gold coins go? Did the Spaniards plundered it all? Well, I don’t have any idea. All these rumored ancient gold in the Philippines just vanished without a trace.
When the Spaniards came to establish their regime, they introduced their silver coin called,”Teston”. Despite the introduction of this coin, people particularly the locals did not recognized or not aware of its existence. This was due to diverse ethnicities who still preferred to use their own currencies.
In order to establish and dominate all other types of currencies in the country, the Spaniards brought out the very first paper money called “peso fuerte” where some also call it “strong peso”. The main reason why these pieces of papers became widely acceptable was due to their higher amount of value.
Fast forward to the date when the Philippines finally got liberated from the Spaniards in 1898, they were now given the full authority to do whatever they like with their own currencies. So peso fuerte was replaced with their own.
The coins were named with their own native language. On this same period, centavos were also introduced.
Americans Evolutionized Monetary System in the Philippines
When the Americans came to colonize the Philippines in the early 1900s, just like the Spaniard Regime they also made huge changes to the monetary system of the country. This system was to make all currencies have equivalent gold value in the bank reserves.
The Americans redesigned both the coin and paper money closely similar to their own. The good thing was that, the value of the Philippine peso at this period of time was just two times the amount of dollar in their numerical value. This means that 5 dollars was equivalent to 10 pesos only.
Philippine Currencies on this Present Day
The monetary system introduced by the Americans where all money are backup with gold reserves in the banks are still being followed today. However, the changes still took place on the designs of both the coins and paper money. They had really undergone a lot of revisions that even just in this recent past years, new coins and paper money were released. Maybe in just a few years, you have to expect some possible changes again.
The continuing changes on the appearance of the Philippine currency should be put to stop or be finalized. This reminds me about someone who never used bank to store his hard earned money for several years. Now that he was old, he forgot all about his money that he secretly kept in his old clothes. Until, his wife accidentally found it.
Upon discovering the money, the old couple were so happy about it but unfortunately, the money already got expired where they are no longer considered valid or no longer acceptable.
Moreover, changes on the designs of the Philippine currency will always take place whenever it is necessary. One of the most common reason why they need to undergo changes is when some professional con artists are able to mass produce indistinguishable amount of fake money. This is the reason why the new money particularly the paper bills have a lot of glittering designs and shadowy figures. Their purpose is to help anyone able to easily recognize counterfeit money.