If you have a nice looking 10-peso coin, one with no dings, dents or scratches, one that you’d consider a keeper, then put one away for posterity. Soon all traces of Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini, the last of the national heroes except for Rizal and Aguinaldo, will be gone from our currency. They’ve already put both on just one coin, right after they squeezed these heroes into the now extinct 10-peso bill.

Melchora Aquino was on the 5-centavo coin until it got a hole punched in the middle. Balagtas was on the 10-centavo coin, but apparently both this and the 5-centavos are now practically demonitized. Juan Luna was on the 25-centavo coin, but not anymore. Even Marcelo del Pilar has disappeared from the 50-centavo coin. Now I’ve always thought about these old coins as an instant history lesson that one could have at any time as long as one had coins in pocket.

Now the bills have presidents. Quezon (20), Osmeña (50), Roxas (100), Macapagal (200), Cory and Ninoy (500, who of course are NOT presidents but their son is), and on the 1000 peso bill we have Jose Abad Santos (5th Chief Justice and Acting President during WWII), Vicente Lim (First Filipino to graduate from West Point, also active in WWI) and Josefa Llanes Escoda, women’s libber and founder of the Girl Scouts. While I do not begrudge these three notable personages the scant space given to them on the 1000 bill, I find myself missing the other heroes that I learned about in school in my elementary days, and wonder why they have been relegated to mere wallpaper at one native food restaurant, sharing a bottle of whatever that was with Rizal.

In fact I feel there is a conscious effort on the part of our currency designers, to consign these heroes to the realm of forgetfulness, postcards from National Bookstore notwithstanding, so that all that we have to show our citizenry are the ancestors of politicians now sitting, further establishing the idea of the political dynasty, and that one needs to come from a political family to lead one’s people.

image of 10 peso coin from here: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZqI7zgzAS5nQkAIahEPFIg

My two centavos worth

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