Quezon, Symbol Of Independence: 200 Pesos (Philippines, 1949)-Article

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

This Philippine banknote represents the 13th denomination of the “English Series” (1949). The “English Series” Peso were the first banknotes to be issued by the Central Bank Of The Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas). Which was established the same year, as the “English Series” banknotes. Symbolically the “English Series” represented a shift toward Philippine independence and self-determination.

The “English Series” notes officially circulated from 1949-1969, until the introduction of the 1969 "Pilipino Series". Although in practice, these official dates are often contradictory. For example, despite being officially designated 1949 banknotes. The “English Series” wasn't fully implemented, until 15 April 1951.

Notably depending on denomination, withdrawal date can be sooner and later than 1969 (SEE Withdrawal Chart). As general rule, withdrawal dates for “English Series” banknotes. Should be regarded on an individual basis. The 200 Peso denomination note seen here, circulated from April 15, 1951 to December 31, 1959. Nearly a decade earlier than the often quoted 1969 withdrawal date, for the overall series.


The observe features a portrait of Manuel L. Quezon (1878-1944), 2nd President of the Philippines. Quezon's portrait is positioned to the note's left, with a small title at the 5 o'clock position. One of the note's dual serial numbers (A 010824) can be seen below. A second serial number is seen above the Bank of the Philippines logo, opposite of the portrait. This feature is common for note produced by Thomas De La Rue, London.

Moving to the note's center is a large guilloché pattern. Such patterns are a common security feature, made using a geometric lathe. Replicating such patterns by hand are extremely difficult, if not near impossible. Making this tried and trusted nineteenth century method, an effective anti-counterfeit method. Which is further reinforced by the utilization of layered printing.

As seen used by the note's large number "200", over printed over the guilloché pattern. Which itself is overprinted by a the text "Two Hundred Peso". Thus serving both as an additional counter-measure, while confirming the note's value. If one looks even closer, they recognize a subtle braided underprint pattern. This pattern curves in a semi-circle path, toward the header.

As the pattern changes the note's green-pinkish underprint. In addition to appearing below the center guilloché pattern. It's highly likely this pattern is part of the original note blank. This note blank incorporates iridescent fibers, as seen along the the Bank of the Philippines logo.

Returning to the note's center, the header list the note's issuer the "Central Bank Of The Philippines". Below is am affirmation of the Philippine Government and Central Bank's liability for the note. Which further reinforced by additional text located as the footer. Above are the signatures of the President of the Philippines (Elpidio Quirino) and the Governor of the Central Bank (Miguel Cuaderno Sr.), authorizing the note. The text below lists the note's printer, Thomas De La Rue, London.

Finally moving toward the border, we can see various small guilloché patterns. The border features framing intended to appears as small bricks. Their purpose is to highlight 4 instances of "200 Pesos", located on the note's corners. Just as the center art, the number 200 is overlaid by text. Although appearing as a single print, as pointed by small breaks within the number "200".

A punctuated sequence of 5 number "200"'s can be seen along the far left and right. It should be noted the direction of the sequences, appear on opposed sides. With the bottom of the numbers always appearing inward to the center of the note. Notably the before mentioned "brick" border turns inward, giving a wide berth to the sequences. Making them quite noticeable, while displaying the nearby guilloché work.


The reverse features a large and highly and detailed illustration of the Legislative Palace, in Manila. The title beneath simple lists the Legislative Palace as the "Legislative Building". The center "main art" area, which the illustration lies. Is designed to appear as a placard, complete with decorative corners and "fastener bolts".

This aesthetic fits well with the decorative "placards", that flank the illustration. Each features a curled leaf-like design and the text "Two Hundred Pesos". Which is further reinforced by "200 Pesos", featured on the reverse's corners. The reverse is framed by a double beaded border, while the remaining interior features guilloché patterns.

Messenger Of The People

Manuel Luis Quezon, occasionally known by his initial MLQ. Was the son of primary school teachers Lucio Quezon (?-1898) and María Dolores Molina (1840–1893). While little of Quezon's early life is known, his parents certainly played a role in his education. As did his father previous experience as a Sargent, in the colonial Philippine Civil Guard.

Quezon completed his secondary school at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (College of San Juan de Letran). Later studying law at the University of Santo Tomas, in Manila. In 1898, Quezon's father and brother Peter were killed, while traveling home. Notably the Spanish-American War (1898)was ongoing during their deaths.

This event had a major repercussions for Philippine history. Causing Quezon to leave his studies in 1899 and join the independence movement. Quezon rapidly climbed the ranks, serving as (future President) Emilio Aguinaldo's aide-de-camp. Raising to the rank of Major, commanding troops in Bataan, during the Philippine–American War (1899-1902). Ending with his surrender in 1900.

Although all was not lost, as this surrender acquainted Quezon with future allies in the US media. He then returned to his studies, passing the Bar Exam, in 1903.Paving the way for his entry into politics, first serving as a clerk and surveyor. Then as an appointed treasurer, first for Mindoro and later Tayabas. He was elected Governor of Tayabas in 1906, after a hard won election.

In 1907, Quezon was elected Representative of Tayabas' 1st District. Serving as Majority Leader and Committee Chairman of Rules/Appropriations, for the First Philippine Assembly. From 1909 to 1916, he served as (one of two) Philippine resident commissioners, for the US House of Representatives. Where he lobbied for the passage of the Philippine Autonomy Act, more commonly known as the Jones Act.

In 1916, Quezon returned to Manila becoming elected to the 5th Senatorial District. Serving as President of the Senate from 1916-1935, completing 19 terms, the longest in Philippine history. In 1919, he lead the first Independent Mission to the U.S. Congress. Followed by his ascension to the leadership of Nacionalista Party, in 1922.

Quezon's senatorial career was highlighted by the passage of the 1934 Tydings–McDuffie Act. Securing the ten-year transition of the Philippines, from a US colony to an independent nation. With the passage of the Tydings–McDuffie Act, Quezon secured his victory in the First Philippine Presidental Election (1935). Wining with an overwhelming 68% percent of the vote.

In Quezon's first term he pursued an intensive policy of reform and social justice. Establishing public defenders to represent the poor in civil court disputes. A Court of Industrial Relations was established. Allowing labors to negotiate grievances, with their wealthy employers. Quezon's policies were inspired by the social doctrine of Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) and Pope Pius XI (1857-1939).

The Agricultural and Industrial Bank, allowing small farmers convenient loans. In addition to access to surveyed public land, allowing them social mobility, away from exploitive land lords. Access to public education was expanded, allowing options to the children of rural farmers. It was through these public schools a new national language (based on Tagalog) would be taught. Breaking down previous language barriers and providing a sense of national unity.

Despite the Philippine Constitution, initially preventing Quezon's reelection. Amendments ratified in 1940, allowed him to pursue reelection. Quezon won the Second Philippine Presidental Election (1941), with 82% of the vote. This second term was marked by the outbreak of World War II (1939-1945). With war preparation guiding the majority of president policy.

In preparation for the impending Japanese invasion. US General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) organized military youth training and civil blackout practices. To aid these efforts on 1 April 1941, President Quezon established the Civilian Emergency Administration (CEA). Despite these efforts Japan invaded the Philippine islands, on 8 December 1941.

A combined defense was organized by the US Army Philippine Department and the recently established Philippine Army. This combined force known US Army Forces in the Far East, provided a blocking force. For the evacuation of the Philippine Government and foreign nationals bound for Australia. By 8 May 1942, the archipelago's defenses had collapsed, in Bataan. Giving way to guerilla warfare, similar to those seen in the earlier Philippine–American War.

The members of the Philippine government were later transported to Washington D.C.

President Quezon's government in exile was headquartered in the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Quezon set up his official residence in the Franklin D. Roosevelt suite. Located on the third floor, which served as quarters for the war-time cabinet. With outside access restricted by thick sealed glass windows, to hinder potential assassins.

President Quezon and his family, with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
President Quezon and his family, with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On 2 June 1942, President Quezon addressed the US House of Representatives. Later addressing the US Senate with the famous inclusion of the slogan "Remember Bataan". Despite declining health, President Quezon toured the US giving speeches. In an effort to keep the importance of the Philippine war effort on the US public consciousness.

President Quezon died on 1 August 1944, from tuberculosis. He was initially buried in Arlington National Cemetery. At war's end, he was transported back to the Philippines on the USS Princeton. He was buried in Manila North Cemetery, on 17 July 1946. Finally moving to the Quezon Memorial Shrine on 1 August 1979. Located in his namesake Quezon City, this shine is inspired by Napoleon's marble tomb.

Size Comparison

A Philippine 200 Peso banknote with US Dollar for scale.
A Philippine 200 Peso banknote with US Dollar for scale.

Small Denomination Withdrawal Chart

  • 5 Centavos: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 30 June 1958

  • 10 Centavos: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 30 June 1958

  • 20 Centavos: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 30 June 1958

  • 50 Centavos: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 30 June 1958

  • 1/2 Peso : Introduction-1 July 1958/Withdrawal-28 February 1969

Large Denomination Withdrawal Chart

  • 1 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 2 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 5 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 10 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 20 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 50 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 100 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 March 1971

  • 200 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 December 1969

  • 500 Peso: Introduction: 15 April 1951/Withdrawal: 31 December 1969

Ultraviolet Gallery


Additional Notes

  • This notes dimensions are 162 x 67 mm or 6.38 x 2.64 in, larger than a standard US Dollar.

  • This banknote is slightly higher and wider, than a standard US Dollar (6.14 x 2.61 in)

  • It's highly recommended to use large protective sleeves, when preserving this note.

  • This article's public domain photos were provided by Wikimedia, support Copyleft License.

13 views0 comments