Proposal for a 150-peso bill carrying the portrait of Jose Rizal




In search of symbols

     



   
     WHAT would you like to see on the Philippine national currency?
     Suggestions from freshmen student nurses at the University of the Philippines include the Oblation, jeepney, pre-Hispanic gold, Bonifacio Monument and the Black Nazarene.
     The Oblation is a sculptured manifestation of Jose Rizal’s writings and stands for public service as well as academic freedom. The jeepney evokes the Filipinization of imported products plus the nimble (some say reckless) approach to life. Pre-colonial jewelry exemplifies native artistry and technology. The statues of the Katipunan founder and prime mover (Gat Andres Bonifacio) and the Christ showcase the secular and the religious.
     The UP freshmen also pitched for Philippine national and natural wonders (Palawan underground river, Pangasinan’s Hundred Islands, Mount Mayon in Bicolandia, Manila Bay, Tubbataha Reefs, Ifugao Rice Terraces), tourist spots and festivals (Luneta Park in Manila, Pampanga’s Lantern Parade, Quiapo Church, Rizal light-and-sound show in Bagumbayan, Cultural Center of the Philippines), places of learning (National Museum, UP Diliman, National Library) and modern infrastructures (San Juanico Bridge).
     The nursing students made a case for Philippine flora and fauna (carabao, bangus or Philippine milk fish, maya or rice bird, mango) and Filipino food (balut or duck egg, lechon, adobo, sorbetes or so-called dirty ice cream). They highlighted the rice plant as a prime choice.
     More artifacts preferred as potential official national icons: the biggest pair of shoes found in Marikina City’s museum, the Santo Niño, the Philippine pearl, the Las Piñas Bamboo Organ and the nipa hut (bahay kubo).
     The health sciences majors currently enrolled in Philippine History and Institutions opted for scenes in the country’s saga (EDSA Uno, GomBurZa execution), Filipino personalities (Ramon Magsaysay) and native traits and practices (mano or putting the hand of one’s elder to the obedient forehead, fiesta, bayanihan or cooperativism, farmers’ lives and rural cycles). They wanted Philippine money to depict the fact that the Filipinos’ celebration of Yuletide is the most extended in the world. Hence, Philippine bills ought to carry Filipino Christmas objects like the parol (Yule star) and the belen (Nativity tableau).
     Are these college kids unique in their pleadings and choices?
    There is a proposal submitted to the Governor of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas for a 150-peso bill carrying the portrait of Jose Rizal as the central feature in the front portion. The intent is to promote the 150th birth anniversary of the Philippine national hero.
     The front portion of the proposed commemorative bill will also feature the Rizal residence in Calamba and the Rizal Monument in Manila. The back portion will spotlight the Province of Rizal, which will mark its 110th founding anniversary on June 11, 2011. Plus the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs in order to symbolize the province (and even the Republic).
     What are the merits of the proposal?
     According to the National Museum of the Philippines: "The Angono Petroglyphs date back to circa late Neolithic. They are located in the rear recess of a cave, carved in a rock formation belonging to the Pleistocene Guadalupe Formation. There are 127 figures engraved into volcanic tuff that was soft enough to be worked on by a denser piece of stone. Unlike other examples of prehistoric art, there is no indication that colors were ever incorporated in the drawings.
     The treasure was discovered in 1965 by a National Artist (Carlos "Botong" Francisco) during a field trip with a Boy Scout troop, and in October of that year, a National Museum interdisciplinary research team recovered four stone tools from the site. Today, there is a Petroglyphs Site Museum situated at the municipality of Binangonan.
     The proposed 150-peso bill is claimed to be in line with the intent of the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, which declared the pursuit of cultural preservation as a strategy for maintaining Filipino identity. In which case, there are more irrecoverable sites worthy of consideration, such as Intramuros (up to the Binondo and Quiapo areas), Fort Bonifacio and the C-5 highway (which are confirmed fossil sites), Huluga in Cagayan de Oro containing Metal Age sites, and Arku, "a metal age cave site, destroyed by treasure hunters."
     In addition to the Angono- Binangonan Petroglyphs, world heritage sites in the Philippines (that may be featured in future Filipino currency) are featured in a map produced by the Department of Tourism: Ilocos Norte’s San Agustin Church in Paoay, the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo.
     The proposed commemorative bill for Rizal is under scrutiny at the Intramuros Administration.
     Meanwhile, here are more national symbols for a revived Filipinism: Arnis (which was declared as the Philippine National Martial Art and Sport via Republic Act No. 9850), the Philippine Pearl (internationally known as the South Sea Pearl) that was declared as the National Gem by President Fidel V. Ramos through Proclamation No. 905 s. 1996, and the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) recognized as the national bird in 1995 through Proclamation No. 615 of President Ramos.
     Finally, the products of Filipino genius should be elevated, for instance, Gregorio Zara’s robot and photo-phone.

Article from Malaya Business Insight. Photo from PaulGeniusBoy Productions.
Bangko Sentral said it has “never issued nor is planning to issue such type of banknote. Therefore, any 150-Piso commemorative note or similar banknote is fictitious.” 

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