Manuel L. Quezon’s Facelift 2010

Soooo it’s Christmas Eve, and I’ve got nothing to do except mope. Still haven’t found my puppy, but by now I’m just hoping that whoever found him has given him proper care. I love you baby, I hope the tambays haven’t eaten you yet. I’m hoping for the best.

Anyway, the new designs for the peso bills have come out! I’m actually in possession of a new 20-peso bill, and currently downloading the pictures to my laptop as I type. I’ll have to blur out the serial numbers of course, since we don’t want any mishaps with displaying pictures of actual money in circulation. Not sure about the legalities behind that, but it’s better to play it safe. Pictures of the basic designs can be found online though. See this page for more details.

Same size, same feel, different look - The old and new 20

As we see in the picture I’ve taken, the new 20 is the same size as the old one, and is also printed in the same paper type. It might look as if the new one is taller and the old one is wider, but in fact, they are of the same size. It’s the new design that gives off this illusion; less lines and more spaces. The new one has more of a golden-yellow-orange tone, compared to the reddish-orange of its predecessor, and of course, new Manuel L. Quezon looks astonishingly younger compared to the old. Around the head of Quezon are lines that seem to imitate the rays of the sun; it should be noted that coupled with the differently toned bands in the backdrop, they all seem to emulate the Philippine flag.

God finally makes an appearance

Differences in signature and logo

On the old 20 we see, “Ang salaping ito ay bayarin ng Bangko Sentral at pananagutan ng Republika ng Pilipinas” right above the old logo (image on the back of RP coins) of Bangko Sentral, followed by the embossed signatures and names of the President and the BSP head. The new one has a little added, “Pinagpala ang bayan na ang Diyos ay ang Panginoon” right between the BSP pledge and the new RP and BSP logos. Embossed signatures and names follow as custom, but it is curious to note that the once large back-image of the Malacanang Palace has been minimized and put up front, beneath all the logos, signatures and names, and was given an almost invisible coloring.

Malacanan? Why so small and invisible?

And speaking of coloring, it seems to me that the most striking features of the new bills are the new RP and BSP logos, which have been strategically placed right smack in the middle of the body. With blue and red coloring, the two are obviously meant to be the features most readily noticed. Again though, it is curious that the RP logo has been diminished in size, and taken from the large right-hand side space it used to occupy, and is now placed at the same level as the BSP logo.

Picture symbol turned into text

It should also be noted that the symbols for the Wikang Pambansa and the Saligang Batas have been detached from the RP logo and reposition at the bottom left-hand corner, redesigned now as text. The space where you’re supposed to see the double image has been repositioned to the right-hand side, adding to the shortening effect we mentioned earlier. Just beneath it is the word “Pilipino” written in Baybayin (designed by a foreigner, I’m led to believe by this). It’s a curious place to put the text though. It could have easily been put anywhere else, but to place it there specifically… the positioning, the size and the color makes it hard to recognize the writing. It’s really very curious that such a significant symbol would be positioned insignificantly. Hmm…

Quezon's new pet companion on the 20

And of course, we have the back side of the body. A big contrast the the old 20, the new 20 sports and image of the Banaue Rice Terraces in the background, with the map of the Philippines to the left-hand side. There’s a Musang in the foreground, and I’m still researching on the significance of that. Backdrop is similar to the design on the front: sun silhouette and the two-toned colors to represent the flag.

As I’m typing this, I notice that the Baybayin writing in the front is hard to read because it takes some kind of maneuvering to view it right. It seems as if they halved the writing horizontally and put a half on each side – so that when the light hits it right (as in how we do the double image test), you’ll be able to see the full image. Nice trick, but I still maintain my initial question on the positioning.

The new image of the RP bills will surely take a while to get used to. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that these bills kind of feel outlandish (I initially thought I was being handed Japanese money), but I suppose we’ll have to get used to them sooner or later, because news has it that these new sets of bills will be released and circulated within the month. Or what’s left of it. At any rate, I can say that the changes in it were interesting, but not revolutionary. I might have to make a more in depth analysis of the body to give anything more concrete, but I’m pretty sure that the symbol manipulations (and that commotion about Gloria Arroyo’s removal from the 200-peso bill) and the timing of the release of the new money are not coincidental. There’s propaganda at work here. And I’ma sniff it out. But maybe later. There’s quezo de bola to be eaten right now.

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