2021 Stamp Programme



10 February 2021

Valentine’s Day 2021


16 March 2021

Discovery of Philippines by Magellan 500th Anniversary





The Philippine Postal Corporation (Filipino: Korporasyong Pangkoreo ng Pilipinas), abbreviated as PHLPost (PhilPost prior to 2012), is a government-owned and controlled corporation responsible for providing postal services in the Philippines. The Philippine Postal Corporation has in excess of 8,000 employees and runs more than 1,355 post offices nationwide. PHLPost is based in the Philippines’ primary post office, and is currently headed by Postmaster General and CEO Mr. Joel L. Otarra. The historic Manila Central Post Office is situated at the Plaza Liwasang Bonifacio and overlooks the Pasig River. Its policy-making body is the board of directors, headed by its chairman, Mr. Norman Fulgencio. The board of directors is composed of seven members, including the postmaster general, who serves simultaneously as the chief executive officer.

Previously an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT), the Philippine Postal Corporation is under the direct jurisdiction of the Office of the President of the Philippines.

The Overseas Filipino Bank, previously the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, is one of three government-owned banks in the Philippines, it was formerly organized under PHLPost. Now, it is a separate company.

The Philippine postal system has a history spanning over 250 years. In 1767, the first post office in the Philippines was established in the city of Manila, which was later organized under a new postal district of Spain. At first, the postal office served mainly to courier government and church documents. In 1779, the postal district encompassed Manila and the entire Philippine archipelago.

During the early Spanish regime in the Philippines, exchange of letters and communications were limited to those belonging to the officials of the government and the dignitaries and priests of the Catholic Church, the letters, communications and the documents were carried by “badageros” who rendered free services to the colonial government. Badageros either hiked or rode on horseback in dispatching the early postal service from Tribunal (town hall) to tribunal or to the Casa Real (provincial capital).

The badageros who acted as courier (counterpart of our present postman) were also called the “Polistos” classified as male citizens from 18 years who did not hold any public office like the Gobernadorcillo (Mayor), Teniente primero y segundo (vice-mayor), the Juez, Cabesas (councilors), the Commesarios and Cuadrillos (Policeman) and Escribanos (clerks). Badageros performed their courier services by rotation. Two badageros were assigned every day at the Tribunal to be relieved the next day. If letters or communications were rush in nature, the badageros had to go and dispatch them even at midnight.

There used to be posted armed guards (also Polistas) at the outskirts of every poblacion and when challenged by the guards at night, the couriers just answered aloud the word “Badageros” and the guards would allow them to pass. Upon delivery of the letter of communication at the next tribunal, the recipient was required to sign on a booklet to show receipt like our present special delivery-registered letters. Sometimes important papers like appointments from the Capitan General (Governor General), were receipted with signatures of the appointees and persons present as witnesses.

There were no known envelopes used during those early times and the letters, communications, and documents were just folded up. No secrecy in the mails was then practiced. One interesting point in this early services was that a letter or communication changed hands many times depending upon the number of Poblaciones between the place of origin and the place of final destination. One pair of badageros did not go beyond the adjoining town, but the letters and communications were delivered the next succeeding town till messages reached the final destination. This accounted for the long delay in the transmission of the said messages. In some cases, it took from one to two months before a communication could be received by the addressee.

The postal district was reestablished on 5 December 1837. A year later, Manila became known as a leading center of postal services within Asia.

On December 7, 1853, Spanish Governor General Antonio de Urbiztondo issued a circular whereby he ordered the establishment, beginning February 1, 1854, of prepaid postage compulsory for all mail matters circulating within the Islands whether addressed from one province to another or between the towns of the same. Urbiztondo’s now famous “CIRCULARES E INSTRUCCIONES PARA EL ARREGLO DEL POSTE DE LA CORRESPONDENCIA DE ESTAS ISLAS”, established the first regular mails in the Philippines and began the use of postage stamps on letters.

The first stamps were issued on 1 February 1854 and were of four denominations the 5 quartos, the 10 quartos, the 1 real, and the 2 reales. These stamps depicted a profile of an effigy of Spanish Queen Isabela II.

Up to 1872, all the stamps used in the islands were identical with those issued in the other colonies of Spain. In the year, however, another Philippine postage stamp was issued. It bore the figure of Spanish King Amadeus and the words “CORREOS FILIPINAS”. Three years later, a new set of stamps were issued. They bore the figure of King Alfonso XIII. In 1891, postage stamps showing the picture of Alfonso XIII as a child of about three years and the words “FILIPINAS” were issued. These Alfonso XIII stamps were the last ones to be circulated by the Spanish Government until its fall in 1898.

Unlike the present practice of affixing stamps in the upper right hand corner of the envelope, stamps during the Spanish period were in some instances, pasted on the upper left hand corner of the cover.

During those times also stamp sellers received a commission from their sales as shown by the following provisions of Urbiztondo’s Circular: “The chief of the province in charge of the issuance of stamps and the Administrator of the Estancadas of Tondo with the consent of the superintendent are given 10% commission on the sales of stamps as remunerations and to cover the expenses that they may incur in the performance of their work, labor, and the consequent responsibilities”.

It seems also that the Spanish postal authorities tolerated the splitting of large denomination postage stamp into two stamps of a lower value. A local philatelist, for instance, owns an envelope postmarked in Manila on July 6, 1857 and addressed to one S.D. Felino Gil of Guagua, Pampanga. The envelope bore on its upper left hand corner a 10 quartos stamp cut diagonally to pass as a 5 quartos stamp. The explanation of this oddity seems to be that due to the lack of a 10 quartos stamps the stamp teller cut the stamp in half so he could have two 5 quartos stamps to conform in all likelihood with the local postal rate at that time.

Spain joined the Universal Postal Union in 1875, which was announced in the Philippines two years later. By then post offices were set up not only in Manila but in many major towns and cities in the provinces.

When the Filipinos rose in revolt in 1898 against Spain, their Revolutionary Government issued its own postage stamps. As a symbol of its new found freedom, the young Republic made its stamp in the shape of a triangle perhaps, to signify the French Revolution’s LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY.

The Filipino rebels issued in all 14 different stamps. There were three regular varieties for postage one for registration, one for newspapers, seven for revenues and two for telegraphs. These stamps, however, were indiscriminately used by the people so that a letter sometimes had two or more of these stamps affixed on its envelope.

During the Philippine Revolution, President Emilio Aguinaldo ordered the establishment of a postal service to provide postal services to Filipinos. It was later organized as a bureau under the Department of Trade on 5 September 1902, by virtue of Act No. 426, which was passed by the Philippine Commission.

Upon the occupation of the Philippines by the United States as a result of the Spanish–American War, the American military government issued regular stamps overprinted with the word “PHILIPPINES”, for postal purposes. These stamps issued on June 30, 1899 were used up to August 1906, when the American civil government which supplanted the military began to use the “PHILIPPINE ISLANDS-UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” series. Pictures of famous Filipinos, Americans and Spaniards, like Rizal, President McKinley, General Lawton, Lincoln Admiral Sampson, Washington, Franklin, Carriedo, Magellan, and Legaspi were portrayed in the new stamps.

On April 4, 1919, a pioneering American flyer by the name of Ruth Law made some exhibition flight over Manila. To honor the unusual occasion, special cards were postally cancelled by the Bureau of Posts, thus inaugurating the first aerial mail service in the Islands.

When the Spanish aviator Edwardo Gallarza and Joaquín Loriga arrived in Manila on May 13, 1926 from Madrid in their airplane after a trip of only 39 days, postal authorities commemorated the event by the overprinting of all values of the 1917-1927 regular issues with the words “AIRMAIL MADRID MANILA 1926”. These were the first airmail stamps in the Philippines. A letter postmarked August 11, 1843 in Madrid, Castilla, España was received and cancelled in Manila, Yslas Filipinas on April 13, 1844 or a matter of 245 days.

The first regular airmail stamps issued in the Philippines, were released only on June 30, 1941. These stamps showed a giant clipper flying cover an open sea on which a Moro Vinta is sailing peacefully.

The Philippines eventually joined the Universal Postal Union, this time as a sovereign entity, on 1 January 1922.

While the Manila Central Post Office building, the center of Philippine postal services and the headquarters of the then-Bureau of Posts, was completed in its present-day Neo-Classical style in 1926, it was destroyed during World War II. After the war, the Central Post Office was rebuilt in 1946.

Upon the inauguration of the Commonwealth Government on November 15, 1935, all these stamps were overprinted with the word “COMMONWEALTH”. These sturdy stamps were to see the fall of the Commonwealth, the coming of the Japanese invaders, the return of the American liberation forces, and the birth of the Third Philippine Republic.

Upon the outbreak of World War II on December 18, 1941, Manila, which was declared an open city was easily captured by the Japanese who entered it on January 2, 1942. On March 4, the Japanese resumed mail service in the city. At first they released the so-called “provisional” or “emergency issues”. They were seven of the pre-war Commonwealth stamps approved by their censors and with the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND COMMONWEALTH” deleted in black.

Recognizing the propaganda value of stamps and psychological value of their designs, the Japanese authorities carefully chose the motif of the stamps issued by them during the occupation of the Philippines. In their new postage series released on April 1, 1943, the Japanese portrayed typical Philippines scenes on them. These issues had four basic designs. The first one showed a typical “bahay kubo” with palm trees behind it. The second one pictured a Filipino woman planting rice. The third one depicted a Moro vinta sailing in the open sea. The last stamp was a “hybrid” one. It showed Mt. Mayon and Mt. Fuji Yama together. Between them was a rising sun and at their base were some palm trees.

On the inauguration of the puppet Second Philippine Republic, the Japanese issued a commemorative stamp showing a Filipina woman in native dress. On her left side was a hoisted the Philippine flag and on her right side the Rizal monument at the Luneta. A string of pearls served as its border and beneath it is a broken chain. In their further bid for the cooperation and friendship of the Filipinos, the Japanese tried to arouse their patriotic fervor. So on the 72nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Fathers Burgos, Zamora, and Gomez, the national heroes’ series was issued by the Japanese. These portrayed Rizal, Burgos and Mabini. This trio of Filipino heroes on postage stamps was the first of its kind in the history of Philippine philately. The last stamps issued by the Japanese were the Laurel issued which showed President Laurel in this inaugural attire. Above him was the seal of the Republic and below was a farmer plowing a field with a carabao.

he Japanese Occupation also marked the issuance of the first Philippine semi-postal stamps. Semi-postal stamps are those issued for the dual purpose of paying postage and raising some revenue for other activities of the government, mostly charitable ones. Ironically enough these stamps were prepared by the Commonwealth Government, but due to the sudden outbreak of the war were not released as planned. The original object of these stamps was to raise revenues for National Defense, but when the Japanese released them on November 12, 1942, their theme was changed to Food Production to suit the needs of the invaders.

In spite of the strong pro-Filipino flavor of these stamps issued by the Japanese, the people did not seem impressed. In fact, in many places especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, the people not only disdained to use these stamps but actually used another kind, the mere possession of which would have forfeited their lives, a guerrilla stamp. Some of these stamps were printed in Australia and brought to the Philippines by submarines. They were used in guerrilla correspondence and in postal communication to the United States. These stamps consisted only of one denomination the 2 centavo variety. They bore the words :FREE PHILIPPINES – GUERILLA POSTAL SERVICE – TWO CENTAVOS SERIES 1943″.

On October 20, 1944, the American liberation forces finally landed on the shores of Leyte. Nineteen days later, with the characteristics dispatch of the Americans, the Post Office of Tacloban was reopened for postal amidst the still smoking ruins. The stamps issued to the public were all available pre war Commonwealth stamps overprinted with the word “VICTORY” in rubber stamp.

The inauguration of the Third Philippine Republic on July 4, 1946, was commemorated by a stamp showing a Filipino woman in native dress with a crown of laurel and holding in her hands the Philippine Flag. In the background were the flags of all the nations. The stamp, therefore, not only symbolizes the independence of the Philippines but also heralded her new role in the great family of the nations.

Indicative of the growing stature and importance of the young Republic in the affairs of the world were the various stamps issued in honor of the international conventions and exhibitions held in this country, like the Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission in Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) held in Baguio on November 24, 1947. The Conference of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) held also in Baguio on February 23, 1948, the 5th World Congress of Junior Chamber International (JAYCEE) held in Manila on March 1, 1950, the Fourth Meeting of the Indo Fisheries Council held in Quezon City on October 23, 1952 and First Pan Asian Philatelic Exhibition (PANAPEX) held in Manila on November 16, 1952.

Even the new Special Delivery stamp issued on December 22, 1947 pictured the unmistakable progress of the Philippines. Where the old Special Delivery stamp portrayed a postal messenger jogging against the background of Mt. Mayon the new stamp showed a mail messenger riding on a bicycle to deliver a letter. In the background may be seen the imposing Post Office Building in Manila.

The Philippines also remembered on her stamps the two Americans greatly responsible for the blessings of freedom which she now enjoys Douglas MacArthur and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And it was significant and fitting, perhaps that the last objects President Roosevelt looked and touched before he suddenly died were Philippine stamps. In describing the great man’s last moment’s in his book “Roosevelt in Retrospect”, John Gunther confirmed this. He wrote “This was about half an hour before the final seizure. F.D.R. filled an envelope with duplicate stamps which he marked “to give away” and then inspected some issues put out by the Japanese during the occupation of the Philippines”.

With the overhaul of the Philippine bureaucracy in 1987, the Bureau of Posts was renamed the Postal Service Office (PSO) by Executive Order No. 125, issued by President Corazon Aquino on 13 April 1987. It was also that order that placed the PSO under the DOTC. On 2 April 1992, by Republic Act No. 7354 the Postal Service Office became the present-day PHLPost. The law also granted the Philippines Postal Corporation, the authority to reopen the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, which occurred on 21 July 1994 by President Fidel V. Ramos. Mr. Joel Otarra, a former member of the board of directors in 2011 was appointed as the new postmaster general and CEO of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) on December 2016 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Contact Information:


RP Stamps and Postal History

Pilipinas Philately Facebook Page

Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas


The Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both within the single urban area of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia and Brunei to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest.

The Philippines’ position as an island country on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the country prone to earthquakes and typhoons. The country has a variety of natural resources and a globally significant level of biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of around 300,000 km² (120,000 sq mi) with a population of around 109 million people. As of 2020, it is the 8th-most populated country in Asia and the 13th-most populated country in the world. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands.

Negritos, some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants, were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for Spain, marked the beginning of Spanish colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. Spanish settlement, beginning in 1565, led to the Philippines becoming part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. During this time, Catholicism became the dominant religion, and Manila became the western hub of trans-Pacific trade. In 1896, the Philippine Revolution began, which then became entwined with the 1898 Spanish–American War. Spain ceded the territory to the United States, while Filipino rebels declared the First Philippine Republic. The ensuing Philippine–American War ended with the United States establishing control over the territory, which they maintained until the Japanese invasion of the islands during World War II. Following liberation, the Philippines became independent in 1946. Since then, the unitary sovereign state has often had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by the People Power Revolution.

The Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the East Asia Summit. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to being based more on services and manufacturing.

The national flag of the Philippines (Filipino: Pambansang Watawat ng Pilipinas) is a horizontal flag bicolor with equal bands of royal blue and crimson red, with a white, equilateral triangle at the hoist. In the center of the triangle is a golden-yellow sun with eight primary rays, each representing a Philippine province. At each vertex of the triangle is a five-pointed, golden-yellow star, each of which representing one of the country’s three main island groups — Luzon, Visayas (though originally referring to Panay) and Mindanao. The white triangle at the flag represents liberty, equality, and fraternity. A unique feature of this flag is its usage to indicate a state of war if it is displayed with the red side on top, which is effectively achieved by flipping the flag upside-down.

The flag’s length is twice its width, giving it an aspect ratio of 1:2. The length of all the sides of the white triangle are equal to the width of the flag. Each star is oriented in such manner that one of its tips points towards the vertex at which it is located. Moreover, the gap-angle between two neighbors of the 8 ray-bundles is as large as the angle of one ray-bundle (so 22.5°), with each major ray having double the thickness of its two minor rays. The golden sun is not exactly in the center of the triangle but shifted slightly to the right.

The shade of blue used in the flag has varied over time, beginning with the original color lazuli Rosco. The exact nature of this shade is uncertain, but a likely candidate is the blue of the Cuban flag, which a theory says influenced the flag’s design. Specifications for the flag’s colors with shades matching those used in the American flag were adopted by the National Historical Institute in 1955. President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the colors restored to the original light blue and red of the Cuban flag in 1985, but this was immediately rescinded after the 1986 People Power Revolution that removed him from power. For the 1998 independence centennial celebrations, the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines (RA 8491) was passed, designating royal blue as the official variant.

The coat of arms of the Philippines (Filipino: Sagisag ng Pilipinas; Spanish: Escudo de Filipinas) features the eight-rayed sun of the Philippines with each ray representing the eight provinces (Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Manila, Laguna, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac) which were placed under martial law by Governor-General Ramón Blanco during the Philippine Revolution, and the three five-pointed stars representing the three major island groups of Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

On the blue field on the dexter side is the North American bald eagle of the United States, and on the red field on the sinister side is the lion rampant of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of León of Spain, both representing the country’s colonial past. The current arms, which shares many features of the national flag, was designed by Filipino artist and heraldist Captain Galo B. Ocampo.