Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center, in cooperation with the National Quincentennial Committee, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the UP Diliman Office of the Initiatives for Culture and the Arts, welcomes abstracts for an international conference, “Sabang: Early Southeast Asian-European Intercultural Encounters,” which will be held on 18–20 March 2021 via Zoom.


This three-day webinar conference aims to discuss the varied cultural legacies of the European-Asian encounter. “Sabang” (meaning juncture of bodies of water in Visayan and several other Philippine languages) encapsulates the meeting of cultures and the centrality of the Philippines in these exchanges.
While the conference’s inspiration draws primarily from the Philippine-Spanish experience, it also seeks presentations on and from neighboring Southeast Asian countries that:
• Highlight similarities and differences with the Philippine experience.
• Employ inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to understand cultural exchange and hybridity.


Abstracts must hew to any of the folllowing subthemes:
• Cultural hybridity
• Enduring pre-colonial traditions
• Maritime technology and culture
• Culinary exchange and influence
• Literary and artistic traditions
• Exploration and travel narratives
• Language and translation
• Religious syncretism
• Islamic-Christian encounters
• Indigenous diplomacy and treaty-making
• Emergent urban culture
• Scripts and textual traditions
• Migrant and colonial cultures
• Resistance and rebellions


• Rene Escalante, PhD, Chair, National Historical Commission
• Leonard Y. Andaya, PhD, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
• Birgit Tremml-Werner, PhD, Linnaeus University, Sweden


• Deadline of abstract submission: 15 January 2021 (Saturday)
• Announcement of accepted abstracts: 1 February (Monday)
• Submission of full paper: 10 March (Wednesday)


The Philippines’ entanglement with Hispanic and Hispanicized cultures from the sixteenth century facilitated the flow and exchange of goods and ideas to and from Asia, on the one hand and the Americas and Europe, on the other. The Philippines, Manila in particular, played a crucial role not only as an important trans-shipment point for American silver, Chinese porcelain, textiles, and other products, but also as a melting pot of cultures. The 500th anniversary of the Philippine-Spanish encounter provides an opportune moment to analyze and reflect on the vaunted yet largely understudied intercultural encounters between Europe and Asia. “Sabang” envisions a lively online exchange of ideas by both young and senior scholars from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. It intends to have several modalities of exchange, namely roundtable discussions, keynote lectures, and panel presentations.


No submission/registration fees to be paid. Prepare and encode the following via the Submission Form (access to link below).
• Title of paper
• Abstract
• Brief statement of the argument
• Bionote
• Zoom email address
View details and access Submission Form in the Conference web page. For queries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D.  program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.