Philippine Peso - A Guide to the Currency of Philippines

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The official currency of the Philippines is the Philippine peso, locally referred to as Piso. It is denoted by the symbol ₱, and the code is PHP for the same. 1 Peso is subdivided into 100 centavos, known as centimos in Filipino. The Security Plant Complex of the Central Bank of the Philippines is responsible for the supply and printing of banknotes and coins. Currently, banknotes of denominations 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 100 pesos are used. And coins of denominations 1,5,10,25 centimos and 1, 5,10, 20 pesos are in circulation. 

Design of the Philippines Peso

The designs of banknotes and coins have gone through a lot of changes in the history of this currency. The most recent modifications were in the year 2019. The interesting part of their design is the difference in all of the denominations. Every denomination has a distinct graphic, including commendable presidents, soldiers, politicians, etc. The colours include violet, light blue, orange, red, and yellow. As for the coins, they usually display the denomination value on the front and the logo of the Central Bank of the Philippines on the back. 

What is the Currency Exchange Rate in the Philippines?

1000 peso bills (Source)

The exchange rates of major currencies with the Philippine Peso, as of January 2021 are as follows -
1 INR =  O.66 PHP
1 USD = 48.01 PHP
1 Euro = 58.79 PHP
1 GBP = 65.66 PHP

Exchanging currency can be tricky at times. Here are some things you should take care of while doing so. First, exchange large value notes instead of small ones, unless you’re doing it from an airport kiosk. While exchanging money at an airport kiosk is convenient, it is not at all advisable. They usually have poor currency rates and you’ll be out of money sooner than you think. If you need to, merely exchange the amount you need to start your trip, like for hailing a cab. Exchange the rest of it from an authorized money changer in the city.

ATMs are also a good place to get Pesos from your bank account itself. For cash exchange, it also advisable that you change your home currency to USD and then exchange USD into Peso in the Philippines. Being a tourism country, exchange offices are usually available at every corner. 

Using Credit Cards and Cheques in the Philippines

BDO Bank in the Philippines: Good source for money exchange (Source)

Credit cards and Cheques are not used a lot in the Philippines. So if you plan to use your traveller’s cheques here, you might want to think again. They are rarely accepted in the market or ATMs, and they are not preferred anywhere else. As for plastic money, the first thing you need to know is that most businesses charge up to 10% extra commission for using it. Credit cards are reliable in the Philippines for domestic flights, upscale hotels, or pre-bookings, but for daily and local use, you should rely on cash. ATMs are a bit scarce in the Philippines but money changers are readily available. Carrying cash can be tricky but for local use, you’ll need it. 

How Much Money Should You Carry in the Philippines?

Pesos Banknotes and Coins (Source)

The Philippines can be budget-friendly or moderately expensive for tourists. At an average, the daily cost can be between 1500 PHP to 2000 PHP. It’ll be cheaper than this if you’re backpacking in the country. But otherwise, this is the daily average for meals, travelling, and accommodation in the Philippines. 

The cost of some common items are as follows:

  1. Bottle of Water: 39 PHP
  2. One meal: 150 PHP
  3. Hotel Accommodation: 900 PHP
  4. Movie Ticket: 260 PHP
  5. A Loaf of White Bread: 58 PHP
  6. Beer in Local Bar: 53 PHP
  7. 20 Marlboro Cigarettes: 100 PHP
  8. Transportation (Taxi): 50 PHP

Tips and Additional Information on Currency of the Philippines 


  1. Collect the small denomination coins that you get because you’ll need those to pay street vendors and drivers. Don’t pay them with large denominations.
  2. It is considered a great disrespect if the currency falls on the ground or you accidentally step on a note or coin. Be careful about that. 
  3. Tipping in the Philippines is not much of a trend but is expected at times. You can tip up to 30-40 pesos to the bellman or the waiters. 
  4. It is advisable to carry some US dollars with you for safety. 
  5. Identity theft is also a problem in the Philippines, so make sure you keep your money in a safe place. 

Origin of the Philippines Peso

Pesos in 1958 (Source)

In the pre-Hispanic era of the Philippines, major trade with countries like China, Java, Thailand, and Borneo, was conducted through the barter system. But as this system became highly inconvenient, ‘piloncitos’ was introduced as the first local coinage system. It was made of small pieces of gold and was used for centuries. In 1521, the Spanish era began and they introduced coins to the Philippines as a medium of exchange. However, those coins were used by various Spanish countries around the globe, and so, they were discontinued.

In 1898, the first local currency was introduced after the Philippines’ independence, but it didn’t last long since the US captured the country in 1901 and formed a new currency, pegging it to precisely half of USD. Yet another change was introduced during World War II by Japan, which came to be known as Mickey Mouse bills due to confusion. Finally, in 1949, the Central Bank of the Philippines was established and they reintroduced the Philippine Peso as the official currency of the nation.

Now that you know the basic things about money in the Philippines, you can easily plan your trip on a budget and enjoy the beaches and vibes of the country!

This post was published by Pranjali Jain

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