THE CENTRAL BANK on Monday launched a commemorative, non-circulation P5,000 banknote and medal featuring pre-colonial hero Lapu-Lapu to kick off the 99-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the “Victory at Mactan.”

“The new banknote shall feature the portrait of a young Lapu-Lapu to make it consistent in the enhanced NGC (New Generation Currency) banknotes,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said on Monday in a video explaining the features of the bill.

“Indeed, if we are to apply to truly celebrate our rich history as a nation, we need to elevate Lapu-Lapu to a greater standing among the pantheon of Filipino heroes,” President Rodrigo R. Duterte said in a video message at the launch.

The celebration of the 500th anniversary of Lapu-Lapu’s victory and the part the Philippines played in the world’s circumnavigation are collectively referred to as the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (QCP), the central bank said in a statement.

The commemorative banknote’s front side includes an image of the battle of Mactan, the logo of the BSP and QCP and the Karaoka or the large outrigger warships used by indigenous Filipino communities.

Meanwhile, the back side of the note depicts the Manaol or the Philippine eagle, a symbol of “clear vision, freedom, and strength; and which embodies the ancient Visayan belief that all living creatures originated from an eagle,” the BSP said.

Other historical details in the reverse side include the tree of a coconut — the food the people of Samar gave to Ferdinand Magellan and his crew — and Mount Apo, where the circumnavigators found directional clues to their intended destination of Maluku or the Spice Island.

On the other hand, the commemorative medal features an image of Lapu-Lapu Shrine in Cebu and the logos of BSP and QCP while the reverse side shows a rendition of the Battle of Mactan and the date “27 April 1521.”

“Now, more than ever, with the global crisis brought about by the pandemic, we need a stark reminder of our glorious past,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said through a message read by Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila, Jr. Mr. Diokno is on medical leave after a procedure and is expected to go back to work in four to five days.

“Now, more than ever, we need our heroes to remind us of our heritage and inspire us to overcome whatever challenge comes our way as a nation,” he said. — L.W.T. Noble