Maps, dynastic annals, travel accounts and other early records, as well as the wealth of artifacts unearthed all over the Philippines, stand as mute evidence of the extensive and intensive trading and tributary relations between the Chinese and early Filipinos as early as the 10th century A.D. The traders also became cultural brokers who introduced a wealth of knowledge of technology to the local people. A peaceful and harmonious relationship strengthened as the two peoples grew to become friends and even family.

It is written that when the Chinese came in their junks to trade, people approached the ships via small boats, and carried off goods to be traded inland. They took ceramics in the form of jars, plates, bowls, saucers, among others, along with tea and silk, while the Chinese took in exchange forest products, wax, pearls, areca nuts, tortoise shell, and other miscellaneous items. One probably locally made Southeast Asian vessel, excavated off what is now Puerto Galera in Mindoro, evidenced this kind of trade. It appears that the Chinese traded in bulk, while the locals came in to get what they needed for distribution to specific trade partners. This was evidenced by the way the trade ware was stored separately in batches of particular kinds, as if these were for specific orders from clients in this network of exchange. A fire had caused this boat to sink with its cargo intact and still arranged as such.

Spanish chroniclers also describe how foreign traders would come, and leave products on the beach for the locals, who in turn would leave their barter goods on the same beach. Bargains were struck by adding or subtracting from the goods until both parties were satisfied.

Contacts of this kind were carried on regularly and seasonally, through long periods, such that expectations were built on both sides. Traders of other Western countries took advantage of this marketing network paving the way for the Galleon Trade, which extended the trade to the Americas.