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Ateneo de Manila’s Ignacio de Loyola: A Soldier Sets The World On Fire

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When was the last time you watched a film that inspired you to be a better person? Or when was the last time a film helped you understand your own life?


With so many movies that are created today that distract people with false values, along comes a movie that aims to make a difference by telling the true story of a soldier who lived 500 years ago in Spain. “Ignacio de Loyola” is a historical drama film based on the memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order and patron saint of Ateneo de Manila University. He also wrote the book “Spiritual Exercises” which provides valuable guidelines for spiritual retreats and meditations, an important book in the Catholic Church.


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Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz in “Ignacio de Loyola”


Although the film is about the true story of a Catholic saint, anyone can relate with the film and appreciate its value, regardless of religion or race. The film project was an international cooperation between Filipino and Spanish professionals in the film industry. Here’s more…


Reasons To See The Film

What makes this film special?

  • The film is a Filipino production headed by Paolo Dy, an award-winning TV commercial director in Asia. The production team is composed of more than 120 Filipinos who travelled to Spain on location for the shooting. The movie is produced by Jesuit Communications Philippines (JesCom).
  • It took 5 years to make this film with a 50 million production budget.
  • Magnificent Scenes On Location in Spain: The film was shot in 4 provinces in Spain namely in Gipuzkoa, Navarre, Zaragoza and Huesca.
  • Historical Locations: They also visited the actual locations that are significant in the life of St. Ignatius, like the castle where he lived (which is now a museum) and the Chapel in the Cave in Manresa where St. Ignatius wrote the book, “Spiritual Exercises”. (More on this later.)



The Battle of Pamplona, a scene from the movie “Ignacio de Loyola”


  • Costume Design: The film had 400 beautiful costumes that were made in the Philippines with such impeccable style that captured the elegance of Spanish fashion 500 years ago.
  • Props: To bring viewers back in time, the production team used a lot of props that were skillfully handcrafted in the Philippines and shipped all the way to Spain. It brought to life the Battle of Pamplona of 1521.
  • Actors: The cast is composed of almost 100 Spanish actors. The movie has some of the best actors from Spain like Andreas Muñoz for the lead role of Iñigo De Loyola (or St. Ignatius). He was awarded “Best Actor” at the 2008 NoteCortes FilmFest for the short film “Paredes”. Other notable actors in the cast include Javier Godino (as Santi), Julio Perillan (as Padre Sanchez), Pepe Ocio (as Montes) and other accomplished actors from Spain.



Scenes from the movie “Ignacio de Loyola”


  • Special Effects: The post-production of the film was done in the Philippines using the latest CGI technology in filmmaking, visual effects and sound mixing for cinematic excellence of international standards.
  • Camera and Lens: The film was shot using the latest in the Alexa line of digital cameras for cinema for the best quality of images and colour. Filipino cinematographer Lee Briones Meily used the new Cooke Anamorphic/i series of lenses for the shots. There are only three of the complete set of lenses that existed in the world, and one of them was used in the filming of “Ignacio de Loyola”.
  • Musical Score: The soundtrack of the film was composed by Filipino musical legend, Maestro Ryan Cayabyab with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and Ateneo Chamber Singers. (When I watched the film in Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, the audience stayed to watch all the way till the end of the film credits just to listen to the awesome soundtrack of the film.)
  • The First Filipino Film Screened in Vatican. On 14 June 2016, the movie “Ignacio de Loyola” was screened in the Palazzo San Giorgio where the Jesuit General and his council were present. It is a great honour for the Philippines and Spain to have a film screened here.
  • Values and Inspiration: It’s a feel-good movie that offers inspiration, courage, optimism and wisdom to the viewers, regardless of religion, race or age.
  • Cultural Value: If you are a foreigner here in the Philippines, this movie will help you understand Filipino culture and religious beliefs. St. Ignatius is a famous and well-loved saint in the Philippines. The Filipino perception about family, honour and status is also reflected in the film, part of the Spanish influence on local culture.


“Ignacio de Loyola is the story of a fiery soldier who realizes that the greatest battles are fought within — in the choice between violence and mercy, anger and forgiveness, hope and despair, darkness and light.”



Paolo Dy and Andreas Munoz

Film and TV Commercial Director Paolo Dy and actor Andreas Munoz, lead star in the movie Ignacio de Loyola. (


The Patron of Soldiers and the Saint of Second Chances

For most people, St. Ignatius of Loyola is an image on a stained glass, a religious icon on church or a painting in a prayer book. The movie aims to show the human side of St. Ignatius, a proud, young military captain with a promising future. Then one day, he lost everything after being injured in war. The end of his military career was the start of his spiritual life in serving God, thus he is called the “Saint of Second Chances”. His life story shows how a person victoriously rose after a major defeat, despite all the difficulties, anger, guilt and depression.


His name means “ignite” and his life story proved how his influence and writings had set the world on fire and brought people back to God.


Although the film is about the life of a saint and presents some historical details, the movie is far from being boring or preachy in delivering its message. The lessons were presented in a down-to-earth and simple way that revolves around wisdom and discernment. The movie talks about the simplicity behind kindness and humility that many have forgotten due to vanity, pride and materialism that dominate modern society today. “Ignacio de Loyola” is a movie that inspires viewers to analyse one’s life, and to see one’s past failures and sufferings as something that will lead to a path towards future greatness.


The movie has a universal appeal where viewers can relate with the story even if one is not a Catholic. To someone who knows little or nothing about St. Ignatius, the story serves as an eye-opener about a great person in history who is worthy to be a role-model, especially for the youth today.


The movie also shows how a person’s social status, wealth and family honour are very important in the Spanish culture (and even in Filipino culture). After being injured in war, our young hero found God in his life and realised that being a “knight of heaven” is more important.


“I have faced death before. It does not scare me.”

(Quote from the movie “Ignacio de Loyola”)



Andreas Muñoz for the lead role of Iñigo De Loyola (or St. Ignatius). He started acting age 9 for “The Devil’s Backbone”, a horror film by Guillermo del Toro. Muñoz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasglow and studied two years at the Real Escuela Superior de Arte Dramatico in Madrid. He was awarded “Best Actor” at the 2008 NoteCortes FilmFest for the short film “Paredes”. Muñoz was also a TV host for Disney Channel for “Disney Channel Games” (2008) and “My Camp Rock” (2009).


Writer, Soldier and Leader – Lessons From The Film 

Viewers can relate with St. Ignatius as an influential writer and leader. As a writer, he has a noble objective. During his moments of confusion and eventually of redemption, St. Ignatius wrote a book “Spiritual Exercises” which is a set of Christian meditations, prayers and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius to help people deepen their relationship with God. During his time, the Church considered his ideas radical and “dangerous”, thus he was accused of heresy, blasphemy and association with a secret society. He was almost burned in the stake for his writings. However, his strong faith in God and his conviction to help many souls helped him through this trial. His courage as a soldier also helped him stay calm, level-headed and brave as he faced the possibility of “death sentence” by the Church.


How many writers today publish books or post their ideas online to make life better for others? In today’s world, the internet has given many people the power to write and share their ideas without limit. Unfortunately, many abuse this power and harm others through writing. The story of St. Ignatius reminds us to be noble and good writers, to use our talent in writing as a means to make life better for others and to eventually save souls. In short, using our talents and skills to the greater glory of God. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. (Latin motto of the Society of Jesus)


Great Accomplishments

In history, his book “Spiritual Exercises” was approved by the Church in 1548 by Pope Paul III. For centuries, the Exercises were given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence. For modern day living, the “Spiritual Exercises” remains vital in helping people identify and defeat things that bring chaos and confusion in people’s minds, and to be more focused in understanding our purpose in this life.


St. Ignatius is also the founder of the Society of Jesus which was approved by the pope in 1540. He died in July 1556 and was canonized as a saint in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. St. Ignatius is the patron of soldiers, the Society of Jesus, the Basque Country, the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Biscay…and best of all, he is the “Saint of Second Chances”. His feast day is celebrated on 31 July.


If you haven’t seen the film yet, please watch this film in cinemas today! While some prefer to watch it someday on DVD, it is still best to watch it in theatres to experience it on the big screen. It is one of those rare films created with a lot of love, joy and hard work.

This weekend, don’t miss the special screening of “Ignacio de Loyola” at the Cinemalaya Film Festival

Date: 14 August 2016, Sunday

Time: 12:45pm

Venue: CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater), Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Metro Manila






Produced by Jesuit Communications Philippines (JesCom), IGNACIO DE LOYOLA was shot on location over two months in Spain.

Presented by Jesuit Communications Foundation Philippines and Solar Pictures

Writer and Director: Paolo Dy

Associate Director: Cathy Azanza

Producer: Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin and Ernestine Tamana

Executive Producer: Emmanuel Alfonso

The Making of ‘IGNACIO DE LOYOLA’ Part 5- Lighting Design


The Making of “IGNACIO DE LOYOLA” Part 3: Casting


Follow Ignacio de Loyola at their social media sites:
Official Website:
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter:
Official Hashtags: #IgnacioMovie #Ignaciodeloyola #WhatWouldYouGiveUp



Author: Marcelle Villegas
Photo source:
Director Paolo Dy and actor Andreas Munoz (Ignacio) –
All other photos – and


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Video reference:
Full Trailer – https:/ /
Behind the scenes –
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