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Facts & Trivia, Numis Tips, References

Counter Counterfeits this holiday season

Now that the Philippine Holiday season is at full swing, a dedicated ninong & ninang would know that it’s time to ready up  those crisp peso bills, coz’ children are coming to town for their Christmas aguinaldos. If you don’t have any, don’t cower under your bed just yet, because by that time, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) would have already introduced into circulation a hundred million New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes. These peso bills will be added to the almost 300 million currency notes already in circulation. With all these, it’s easy for someone to fall prey to fake notes. More like buying fake Christmas lights, you’re likely to get burned. So, can you really tell what’s Mickey from not? The answer is yes and it’s quite easy if you just where to look. Here’s how…

To enable a cash handler to spot counterfeit money, one has to be familiar with the genuine bank notes of BSP. Study the workmanship of each denomination of genuine NGC banknotes. One must take note and familiarize himself/herself with the various characteristics of the following security features:


The genuine note is printed on a special paper, 80% cotton & 20% Philippine Abaca, which give the banknote a certain roughness to touch. During the manufacturing process of the paper, security features are incorporated.

The watermark shows the shadow image of the portrait and the banknote’s denomination on the blank space when viewed against the light from either side of the note. Its denomination also appears on the watermark beside the shadow image.

Security Fibers
Red and blue fibers embedded in the banknote paper glow under ultra violet light. You can see this glow when you use a money detector device.

Embedded Security Thread
This is a special thread implanted vertically off center of the note during the paper’s manufacture. Viewed against the light, both the 20 peso and the 50 peso notes have an embedded 2mm wide security threads that can be seen.

Windowed Security Thread
The thread is vertically located like “stitches” on the face of the note. A 4mm wide stitch-like metallic security thread can be seen present in 100, 200, 500 and 1000 peso notes. The front of the thread carries in clear text the initials of the BSP together with the numeric denomination in repeated series. Similarly, at the back of the security thread is the printed initials of BSP in repeated series.


Generally, impressions of the different printed features are well-defined, sharp and distinct. The fingers can readily feel the embossed prints on the designs of relatively new notes because of the measurable thickness, a process called intaglio printing.

It appears life-like. Lines of the finest details forms and makes the portrait eyes sparkle. Shadings are also formed by fine lines that give the portrait a characteristic facial expression.

Serial Number
The serial numbers of the new Philippine Peso bills are composed of 1 or 2 prefix letters and 6 to 7 digits, which are clearly printed in asymmetric or increasing size. The letters and numerals are uniform in thickness, evenly spaced and well-aligned.

The word Filipino written in Philippine ancient “Baybayin” alphabet, half of each are printed on each side and can be seen in its complete form when banknote is viewed against the light.


Concealed Value
When the banknote is rotated in 45 degrees and tilted downwards, a concealed denominational value can be seen super-embossed on the smaller version of the portrait.

Optically Variable Ink (OVI)
A security feature exclusive for the 1000 peso bill is the optically variable ink for the embossed denomination value on the lower right corner of the face of the bill. It changes color from green to blue or blue to green when the note is held at different angles.

Optically Variable Device Patch (OVD)
The 500 and 1000 peso bank notes now have the optically variable device patch, reflective foil. For the 500 peso, the reflective coil bares the image of the small BSP logo and the Blue-napped Parrot, while the 1000 peso bill, the reflective coil carries the image of the small BSP logo and the south-sea pearl. The reflective coil patches changes its color from red to green when the note is rotated 90 degrees.

These security features are easily recognizable by sight and touch alone. Instruments are not necessary. Make it a habit to feel and look at all notes being received so that the fingers and the eyes will become familiar with the features of the genuine Bangko Sentral notes. Take some time to get to know the security features of the new Philippine money, or have a credit card… Happy Holidays everyone!!!




2 thoughts on “Counter Counterfeits this holiday season

  1. Very informative! Thanks for sharing this. I just hope our major media network present this to the common folk.

    Posted by golden cowrie | 26 November 2011, 7:15 PM

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