The Filipinos carry the distinction of being the first people in Asia to successfully launch an anticolonial nationalist movement for independence. This was despite the numerous handicaps that hampered their quest for unity. Very loyal to their immediate community, they identified themselves by the particular boatload (barangay) that brought their ancestors from the Indonesian islands, possibly in the early centuries of the Common Era. Dispersed over several thousand islands, large and small, and without the benefit of a common language or a strong historical tradition, it was comparatively easier for the Spaniards to rule the population. The Filipinos’ submissive attitude was partly the result of the friars’ constantly telling them how intellectually inferior they were; it was also due to a lack of national consciousness among the Filipinos, whose loyalties rarely transcended the barangay group or the pueblo (township) level.