During the Spanish colonial rule, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) was established on August 1, 1851, originally known as El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II, named after the Queen of Spain, Isabel II. As the first government bank to be established in the Philippines, it was granted the authority to print and issue the first Paper Money in the Philippines. The first printing happened on May 1, 1852, issuing Peso Fuerte (PF) or “Strong Pesos”.
On September 3, 1869, El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II changed its name to simply El Banco Español Filipino, after Isabel II was dethroned in 1969.
After the Spanish-American War of 1898, the bank was reorganized and privatized under the provision of U.S. Federal Government’s National Bank Acts of 1863 and 1864. The bank adopted its current name Bank of the Philippine islands on January 1, 1912. Since the Spanish influence in the Philippines is strong, the bank, then was popularly known as Banco de las Islas Filipinas.
All Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Banknotes were printed by U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Printed in 5-subject sheets. Replacement Note has a “Star Symbol” Prefix similar to the United States currency replacement system, under the authority that was granted on January 29, 1919. A Total of ₱ 45,931,500.00 were issued.
On December 8, 1941, Japan launched an attack on the Philippines, ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two days after, on December 10, 1941, Japanese forces landed on Luzon, and eventually capturing Manila on January 2, 1942. The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) briefly ceased operation, and eventually reopened the under the supervision of Japanese authorities, capturing all Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) Banknotes in its procession. This captured Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) Banknotes, same with Philippine National Bank (PNB) Circulating Note were eventually re-issued by the Japanese military.
Executive Order No. 111 was approved on December 14, 1942 by the Director General of the Japanese Military Administration, extending the corporate existence of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and prescribing the manner of the redemption of its outstanding circulating notes. All Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Banknotes were withdrawn from circulation upon the issuance of Proclamation No. 5 signed by President Jose P. Laurel on December 3, 1943, allowing redemption until March 1, 1944 (within 90 days) for residents within City of Manila and until May 30, 1944 (within 180 days) for residents outside the city of Manila.
Unlike the Japanese Military re-issued Philippine National Bank (PNB) Circulating Note which were declared illegal by virtue of Republic Act No. 211, the Japanese Military re-issued Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Banknotes did not received such Republic Act, but President Sergio Osmeña signed Executive Order No. 25 on November 18, 1944, declaring all Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Banknotes as not being a legal tender and prohibiting its circulation.
On August 20, 1948, with the Governments plan of retiring the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Circulating Notes, Elpidio Quirino signed Executive Order No. 166, requiring the registration and deposit of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Circulating Notes until February 19, 1949. Executive Order No. 310 signed by Elpidio Quirino on April 22, 1950, extending the registration until July 21, 1950 for redemption