I’m not saying this is one of my better ideas ever, but I’ve been giving this some thought lately. There are a few problems with it, such as the bulk of your wallet, and how to actually go about the process, but even with those obstacles I think it’s time to look at abolishing the 1000 peso bill. The reason is very simple, and if you’ve spent any time here at all you’ll know what I mean without much guidance.

Those that haven’t been here may not quite see the problem.

P1000 is only worth about $25 USD (give or take) at the time of this writing. It’s not like we are talking about $500 or $1000 United States dollar bills. Those were removed from circulation, as far as I understand it, mainly due to counterfeiting issues. Even the $100 dollar bill is still scrutinized, especially in a foreign country such as the Philippines.

No, the reason for my suggestion is quite simple. No one wants to change it. I mean – NO ONE. You might get less opposition at a large grocery store, or department store in the mall, but even then you can feel the resistance. I’m not sure if offering a 1000 peso bill to the driver of a trike is grounds for deportation, but the response you might get, if you were brave enough to do it, would be similar to calling their mother a bad name.

It’s mandatory to apologize if you offer P500 or higher. Don’t even dare offer a bill 500 peso or over to any smaller store that has just opened, your best case scenario will be for them to ask for you to “wait for awhile” as they change your bill elsewhere. Worse scenarios include refusal of service, or asking you to go change it elsewhere. Offering a 500 peso bill anytime generally results in disgust and/or near tears. If your item happens to be near P500, then expect that they will require ask you to give the additional peso(s) so they can give you back, P10, P20, P50, ETC.

Unless you give exact change you are never off the hook completely.

So it is with great regret that I go the ATM once a week to draw my allowance to myself. Sometimes the machine will dispense 500 peso bills, and though I don’t care for the bulk, I definitely prefer it to the 1000 peso bill that I know I will spend the entire week drawing the wrath of everyone that I offer them to. Panic will set in during that time if I look into my wallet and see only 1000 peso bills. Quickly I’ll need to plan a way to alleviate that problem.

There are a lot of regulations here in the Philippines. Many are not followed, but I’ve yet to figure out which ones are critical to follow and which are not. It does seem some are deemed important. With that I wonder if it’s possible for a foreigner to start a petition (of course I could do like all other things, under the guise of my wife). I’m thinking a petition would be a fine way to get the ball rolling on this idea to remove the 1000 peso bill and more importantly the stress that it causes throughout the country. Just think of the millions of workers that would get instant relief from this daily burden.

Well I did say it may not be one my better ideas, at least in practice, but in a fantasy world I think it has some merit. At least that’s what I think every time I reach into my wallet to pull one of those stressors out, accompanied by my apologizes, of course.

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