China's influence over the Philippines extends to its economy, businesses, politics, culture, and relationships with other foreign powers. China also influences traditions in the Philippines, such as the celebration of Chinese New Year, and also popular food, such as noodles, pancit, and sweet and sour dishes.
As the largest trading partner of the Philippines, China influences the country's business and politics. Bilateral trade between China and the Philippines is near $17.6 billion each year, and officials estimate that smuggled goods between the two countries, such as guns and drugs, exceed official trade. The Philippines export more goods to China than anywhere else, which increases China's influence over Philippine officials. Children in the Philippines learn Mandarin, Fookien and Tagalog, often at the same time, to prepare them for establishing relationships with Chinese-speaking workers and business owners.
China influences relationships that the Philippines has with other foreign powers, including the United States. In 1992, after the Philippines limited, and in some cases eliminated, U.S. military bases, China claimed the demilitarized areas for itself. In response, the Philippines re-opened military-related relationships with the United States. To discourage China from taking over area in Philippine-claimed areas such as the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the Philippines strengthened its relationship with the United States.