New Peso bills look like play money

James Ryan Jonas

Two weeks after posting how the new Peso bills look like, I i finally got hold of the new P20 peso bill. Just like my initial impression before, the actual bill looks a lot like play money to me.

Don’t get me wrong. The new Peso bills do appear more modern in terms of design and perhaps with the new security features, they’re probably better compared to the old ones. But after being exposed to the old bills for a couple of decades or so, it would certainly take a few years before I’d  get used to the new Peso bills.

New Peso bills vs. Old Peso bills

I searched the net for a sample of a Philippine Peso play money just to compare. It’s probably just me but the new bill looks much more similar to a play money than to the currently existing P20 peso bill.

Comparing the new P20 peso bill with the current bill in the market, size-wise, they’re just the same. As regards texture and feel, the new bill feels more smooth to touch while the old one is a bit grainy. I think it’s because the old bill has a design that’s embossed on the paper while the new bill appears to have a design that’s merely printed and not embossed.

The color of the two bills is different. The old one is red-orange in color while the new one has a lighter shade of orange that looks similar to, well, the skin of an orange fruit. I like the old bill’s color more because the new one reminds me of Monopoly money (Pass Go and collect P20!).

The obverse side of the new bill shows on the upper right- and lower left-hand corners a serial number that varies in font size. I assume this is a new security feature. The old one does not have it.

The most striking thing on the new P20 peso bill is definitely the picture of Manuel L. Quezon. Here he looks 30, or perhaps even 40, years younger than in his picture on the old P20 bill. Ahh, the wonders of Photoshop and Vicki Belo. LOL.

The reverse side shows a picture of the Banaue Rice Terraces and a caricature of the palm civet or alamid,  whose poo (yes, feces!) yields one of the most expensive coffee beans in the world. Interesting trivia, huh?

The civet’s scientific name is Paradoxurus hermaphroditus  Philippinensis. I researched if civets are indeed hermaphrodites — having both male and female sex organs — and according to Wikipedia, the names was given “because both sexes have scent glands underneath the tail that resemble testicles.” Hmmm, another interesting trivia brought about by curiosity on the new P20 peso bill.

The new Peso bills are now in circulation while the old bills, according to the Bangko Sentral, will be retired in 3 years.

The old Manuel Roxas in the P100 peso bill will surely be teary-eyed upon his retirement, but don’t fret because the new and younger Manuel Roxas is here.


James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.