An important chapter in History

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Excerpts from the book of Aileen San Pablo-Baviera Philippines-China Relations in the 20th Century: History Versus Strategy:

“Chinese written records indicate that Filipinos had gone to China as early as 982, when Ma-yi (Mindoro) traders appeared on the coast of Guangzhou, and in 1 001 when the first recorded Philippine tribute mission came, apparently from Butuan. At the end of the twelfth century, Visayan pirates were raiding Fujian from bases in the Pescadores. Anthropological and archaeological findings, however, point to Chinese traders visiting the islands of the South Seas before the tenth century, presumably including islands that now belong to the Philippines. A Song Dynasty edict of 972 mentions Ma-yi as part of the luxury trade in foreign exotica. By 1206, written records showed that Mindoro, Palawan, Basilan and other nearby islands were known to China. Relations between early Philippine kingdoms and China were rich and colorful. Chinese sources report that Admiral Zheng He’s men landed in Sulu in 1409. In 1417, a Muslim delegation led by the east King of Sulu, Paduka Batara, paid a visit to China, where he was admired and befriended by the Emperor. Unfortunately, on his way back to Sulu, the king died and was buried in Dezhou, Shandong province. Members of his family remained to tend his grave in Dezhou, where to this day his descendants continue to practice Islam and have established strong ties with China’s Islamic Hui minority? When the Spaniards arrived, they already found Chinese settlers and Chinese ships bringing merchandise to Manila. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi opened direct trade with China, with Chinese merchants bringing textiles, industrial products, raw materials and food. This not only helped sustain Spanish colonial rule, it also boosted the development of trade between the Philippines and the distant Spanish colony of Mexico.”

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