Of New Banknote Designs and Philippine Map Errors

12:50 am PHT

I was excited to see the new peso banknote designs that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas unveiled this month and like many other people, I approve of the general graphic design as well as the inclusion of Cory Aquino on the 500-peso bill (a very popular request ever since the former President passed away). I also very much like the unified theme of featuring (mostly) natural tourist spots, fabric designs, and (mostly) endemic fauna on the back of the banknotes.

However, the BSP committed some grave errors. The first to be pointed out by many people was the incorrect typography of the species names—the scientific name should have been italicized and the first letter of the genus should have been in uppercase with the rest of the letters all in lowercase.

A more grievous error (in my opinion) are the errors in geography. (Well, what do you expect from a map geek? Hehehe.) As I blogged years ago, a personal pet peeve of mine are inaccurate maps, and the new banknote designs, with their incorporation of a map of the Philippines on the reverse side showing the locations of the tourist spots, have a few of them.

I was planning to write a blog post analyzing the errors, but New Media Philippines has already done it and the issue has even been highlighted in GMANews.TV. So I will no longer push through with my plan since I really have nothing substantial to add.

What I’ll do instead is to do a pop quiz. Shown below is a photo of part of a store display in the Rockwell Power Plant Mall depicting a map of the Philippines made from cut-out metal sheets. For the most part, the archipelago is quite correct in both its shape and placement (although Palawan seems to have shrunk a bit). However, I quickly spotted a glaring error. Can you find what it is?  :-D

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On 2:14 a.m., 20 Dec 2010, chitetskoy wrote:

may uka ang Mindoro!


On 7:14 a.m., 20 Dec 2010, Jon Limjap wrote:

- Mindoro has a dent—Masbate looks like it’s missing its peninsula—Bohol is rotated about 75 degrees CCW—Camiguin is missing—Busuanga is missing

Not sure which ones are more glaring than the others but, oh well…


On 8:51 a.m., 20 Dec 2010, Pao wrote:

I think the fuss over the scientific names not bein italicized is way, way overblown. The scientific names of Philippine animals in the coins of old isn’t italizicized either and nobody gave a damn. And I think, given how small the labels are on the peso bills, it’s not a good idea to italicize them at the expense of readability. (Unless the peso bills came with magnifying glasses on them, perhaps  :P ) For all I care, those scientific name critics might as well criticize the typography of person names (i.e. capitalize the first letter of a person’s name and have everything in lower case).


On 11:30 a.m., 20 Dec 2010, maning wrote:

Samal Island in Davao Gulf is missing. I can’t find the general details of Sulu and Tawi-tawi.


On 9:22 p.m., 20 Dec 2010, seav wrote:

I can’t believe nobody spotted it yet!  :-P

@chitetskoy, nope, there’s just a dent on the metal sheet so it’s reflecting something light-colored. If you look carefully, the eastern coastline of Mindoro is still complete.

@Jon, those are all minor compared to the glaring error.  :-D

@Pao, you got a point there.

@Maning, nope, Samal is there as well as Jolo island. Tawi-tawi is just outside the photo. You of all people should be able to spot the big error.  :-)


On 9:36 p.m., 20 Dec 2010, Jon Limjap wrote:

OMFG crime of all crimes!

Leyte is UPSIDE DOWN!!!


On 9:53 p.m., 20 Dec 2010, seav wrote:

@Jon, finally you got it! Biliran, being attached to Leyte, is also now neighbors with Dinagat Island. And I think the upside down position is why Bohol was rotated; it doesn’t fit the space!

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