Before the Spanish came, the Philippines, which had once consisted of hundreds of isolated and essentially autarchic settlements, was evolving toward a more integrated economy. Much of this economic interaction was confined to the archipelago, but some also extended into what lay beyond: the rest of Asia. By the sixteenth century, the Chinese had been regularly trading with the islands for several hundred years, and the Filipinos were also sailing overseas, at least as far as Melaka (Scott, 1984: 63–84). The Philippines exported forest and sea products, and imported such manufactures as porcelain and textiles. As elsewhere in the region, trade was dominated by the upper class and helped facilitate state formation.