I have been corrected - there is no traditional culture of tea in the Philippines outside of the Chinese community. The excellent cumquat tea I sampled the other night was in a Chinese restaurant, and the tea shop I visited is nothing more than a recent luxury import, so the proximity to China and the trade routes has not traditionally brought tea to the islands despite my romantic notion that it had. My host has to import black leaf tea from Australia in order to make a pot, and the tea bags you find in supermarkets here are all imports from England or occasionally China.
Interestingly, this is also true of spices - the rich mix of spices I would have thought were a staple part of trade for the last five centuries or more essentially bypassed the Philippines. While there are local spices available in the markets, you don't get the rich mix of Indian and Chinese spices I had thought would be ubiquitous throughout Asia.
Well, I guess I am here to learn something new. Objective achieved!