LAST MARCH, the Philippine Map Collector’s Society (PHIMCOS) invited the distinguished journalist and editor Philip Bowring to give a talk to our group in Manila and launch his new book Empire of the Winds. Bowring is a professional journalist and former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and has been based in Asia for over 45 years. His book is not specifically about maps but he is an expert on historical maritime trade routes, seasonal winds, currents and the ancient sailing ships which navigated between the thousands of islands which make up Southeast Asia’s southern archipelago. These ships were built locally and were capable of sailing west as far as India and East Africa and north to Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and China. The history of navigation and trade routes is of great interest to map collectors as it goes hand-in-hand with the early development of Asian maps, navigational guides and sea charts.