Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:06:00 12/20/2010
Filed Under: Banking, Places, Monuments &
challenged Philippine maps and a rare parrot with the wrong-colored
beak have perturbed the country after the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas (BSP) rolled out error-filled new editions of its
The new banknotes, scheduled to be rolled
out this month and containing the signature of President Benigno
Aquino III who took office this year, bombed spectacularly
in the graphics department, according to critics.
The reverse side of the new 500-peso bill
features a rare native bird—the blue-naped parrot, with
its red beak incorrectly rendered in yellow and its tail feathers
underneath colored green instead of yellow.
A map on the same bill—which also carries
portraits of Mr. Aquino’s late parents—mislocates
Palawan’s Saint Paul’s subterranean river that
has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
“Yes, they have made a very big booboo
on the parrot,” said Jon Villasper, a cartographer who
is also a member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.
“Aside from that, they misplaced Tubbataha
Reef by around 400 kilometers and Batanes is not on the map.
I believe they also misplaced Saint Paul’s subterranean
river,” Villasper told Agence France-Presse by e-mail.
Printed on the 1,000-peso bill is a map locating
the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, another prized Philippine
UNESCO world heritage site, on or near Malaysian territorial
The map of the Philippines featured on six
different bills redraws the country’s territory, places
its northern limit 150 kilometers south of the actual line
and excludes the Batanes island group.
Lawyer Ghelynne Avril del Rosario said the
mistakes echoed a rebranding campaign by the Department of
Tourism that was withdrawn last month amid charges that its
slogan was forgettable, it plagiarized Poland’s campaign
and the URL of its website resembled that of a pornographic
Like the campaign, the bills are now fodder
for ridicule on Internet social networking sites, Rosario
“Just like scrapping the ‘Pilipinas
Kay Ganda (Philippines What a Beauty)’ slogan, let’s
scrap the new peso notes as well!” Del Rosario said.
BSP spokesperson Fe de la Cruz acknowledged
the criticisms, but said space constraints limited the artist’s
room for maneuver.
“In choosing the design, we are always
guided by our commitment to enrich the appreciation and knowledge
of the Filipinos we honor on our banknotes, as well as the
unique sites and species our country should be proud of,”
said De la Cruz, director of the BSP corporate affairs office.
“For our banknotes, we used an artist’s
rendition of the Philippine map that by virtue of space and
aesthetics does not reflect all of our islands and the precise
coordinates of each site,” she said. “Nevertheless,
we appreciate constructive comments and we will take these
into account moving forward.”
In the redesign of the new banknotes, the
BSP tapped the services of Design Systemat and Studio 5 Designs.
BSP Governor Amando Tetangco earlier said
the central bank decided to feature the country’s top
tourist destinations in the new banknotes to attract more
visitors to the country.
It was not the first time the central bank
has been left red-faced over currency design. In 2005, it
was forced to withdraw bills that misspelled President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo’s name as “Gloria Arrovo.”
In the 1980s, the central bank issued a 50-centavo
coin that misspelled the scientific name of the Philippine
eagle as Pithecobhaga jefferyi, instead of Pithecophaga jefferyi.
Reports from Agence France-Presse and Michelle V. Remo