Thousands of Chinese immigrants arrived in the Spanish Philippines to profit from the Galleon Trade, by which goods passed between China and Mexico. Many Chinese assimilated into Filipino society, intermarrying with native Indios and others, as well as with Spaniards. Through success in trade, many acquired farmlands in the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming relatively wealthy, acquiring social status and, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, growing political clout. One such wealthy family was the Cojuangcos, from which president Corazon Aquino and numerous other influential politicians and industrialists were from.
Luis H. Francia, A History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos (New York: The Overlook Press, 2010).