The Spanish arrived in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, and discovered an archipelago blessed with natural resources, which included diverse fauna and flora. Their presence opened the Galleon Trade route from the Americas via Acapulco, which brought different kinds of imports, including botanical species that actually enriched the native landscape and natural life of the Philippines.
The number of the early botanical introductions via the Galleon Trade consisted of food plants, cereals and beans such as corn, lima and yam beans; fruit trees such as avocado, kamatsile, tsiko (chico), kakaw (cocoa); kamatis (tomatoes), pina (pineapple), and mani (peanut). There were also ornamentals, medicinal herbs and textile plants such as maguey. Most of the Mexican species easily adapted to the local climate and soil. After mastering their cultivation, the Filipinos learned to use the plants in many different possible ways to produce food, clothing, medicine, and decorative and functional objects.
This publication features the exhibition of the same name at the National Museum of the Philippines, which showcased some thirty-one botanical specimens.