I like to do self-imposed quests and collect certain items when I travel. One of the personal challenges or sidequests I’ve been trying to complete is to visit all the destinations featured on the back of our Philippine currency. The current set of banknotes issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines features Philippine landmarks and tourist destinations, which are considered the most valuable treasures of our nation. As of November 2017, I’ve collected photos of the landmarks in five out of the six possible locations.
GOAL: Take photos of Philippine banknotes at the landmarks featured on the bill STATUS: 5/6 collected
NEXT MISSION: Dive with a 1000 bill at Tubbataha Reef
You can learn a lot about Philippine culture, history, flora and fauna just by looking at the bills. Our money features prominent historical figures along with buildings and important events in Philippine history on the front of each note. On the reverse side, along with the iconic tourist spots, there are animals and native textile designs from different regions. For those who like to chase money when they travel, here are the destinations you may want to put on your bucketlist.
Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
The 20 peso bill features the Banaue Rice Terraces, 2,000 year old terraces carved into the mountains of Ifugao province along with a Palm Civet and Cordilleras weave design.
If you’re heading up to the Cordilleras, it’s always worth stopping by the main view deck along Banaue to get a stunning view of the rice terraces. You can also buy famous Banaue souvenirs and see weavers in action at the tourist shops nearby.
Taal Lake, Batangas
The 50 peso bill features Taal Lake and Taal Volcano, known as the smallest active volcano in the world in Batangas along with maliputo or giant trevally (a large type of fish inhabiting Taal Lake) and a Batangas embroidery design.
You can get a good view overlooking the lake surrounding the volcano from Tagaytay City in Cavite, the most popular weekend destination near the metro. For a more extreme adventure, try crossing the lake through a motorized banca to step food on Volcano Island itself.
Mayon Volcano, Albay
The 100 peso bill features Mayon Volcano in Albay along with whale shark or butanding and Bicol textile design.
Mayon Volcano is renowned for being the most perfectly formed stratovolcanic cone in the world. Named after a legendary princess-heroine Daragang Magayon (Beautiful Lady), the volcano and its surrounding landscape was reclassified as a natural park in 2000. You can see the volcano from anywhere in the province, but the most iconic view is from Cagsaua Ruins.
Chocolate Hills, Bohol
The 200 peso bill features the famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol, along with the Philippine tarsier and Visayas weave design.
The Chocolate Hills in the island province of Bohol is one of the most popular icons in the country. Tourists can get a great overlooking view of these incredible geological formations at Chocolate Hills Complex in the municipality of Carmen and at Sagbayan Peak in Sagbayan town in Bohol.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan
The 500 peso bill features the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River in Palawan along with the blue-naped parrot and a Southern Philippine cloth design border.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a protected area in Palawan. Visitors come here marvel at the stunning limestone karst landscape and ride a boat through portions of the 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly to the West Philippine Sea. The park was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on December 4, 1999 and is considered as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
The only destination in Philippine currency that I haven’t personally been to (which remains high on my bucketlist) is the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which can be seen at the reverse side of 1,000 peso bill, along with the South Sea pearl and the Mindanao design for Tinalak or Ikat-dyed abaca.
Reputed to be one of the best dive sites in the world, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a 97,030-hectare marine and bird sanctuary located near the middle of the Sulu Sea (150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan). It’s recognized as a center of marine biodiversity containing 75% of the described coral species and 40% of the world’s reef fish. In 1993, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for being a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species. The North Islet serves as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles.
NOTE: A longer version of this article was published in Manila Bulletin’s Going Places magazine September 2017 Issue. The magazine is available in bookstores nationwide and downloadable via Buqo, Magzter Inc., and PressReader.