Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) developer MOONTON has partnered with the Philippines' Department of Tourism (DOT) to co-host the game's upcoming M5 World Championship, which will be held in two venues in Metro Manila from 2 to 17 December.
The M5 World Championship proper will already be preceded by a Wildcard Stage in Selangor, Malaysia from 23 to 26 November before it moves to the Philippines.
The tournament will kick off with its Group Stage and Knockout Stage Phase I in the EVM Convention Center in Quezon City from 2 to 12 December.
After a two-day break, the M5 World Championship will then proceed to its Knockout Stage Phase II and Grand Finals, which will be hosted in the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila from 15 to 17 December.
MOONTON signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the DOT to at the EVM Convention Center to establish the framework between the developer and the tourism board to host one of the biggest esports events of the year in Manila.
Among the signees were DOT Undersecretary and Chief of Staff Atty. Mae Elaine T. Bathan, Office of Film and Sports Tourism Director Robby Alabado III, MOONTON Games Philippines Esports Head Logan Shaw, and Regional PR Manager Keith Medrano. MOONTON Games Regional Esports Marketing Lead Mabel Zhang was also present during the signing.
MOONTON said in a press release that this "momentual partnership [is] set to drive esports tourism" in the Philippines. The developer added that it will also introduce several tourism initiatives in partnership with DOT that will be unveiled at a later date.
"The Philippines is one of the biggest Mobile Legends: Bang Bang markets and among the strongest regions in MLBB esports. It is prime time to host the M5 World Championship in Manila, and we are excited to bring local and global MLBB communities together in this memorable event," said Shaw.
While M5 will mark the first time that MLBB's world championship tournament will be hosted in the Philippines, it will not be the first time that Filipinos have graced the game's biggest stage.
Of the four MLBB world championships so far, three have been won by Filipino teams. M2 in January 2021 was won by Bren Esports while Blacklist International claimed the trophy at M3 in December 2021. Finally, ECHO emerged victorious at M4 back in January this year.
Meanwhile, the inaugural MLBB world championship in 2019, M1, was won by Indonesia's EVOS Legends.
"It is an immense honor to work with DOT for the international tournament, and we are grateful for their support. We hope to bring a greater level of esports tourism to the nation and simultaneously deliver an exceptional viewership experience to the fans," said Shaw.
"We are proud to be part of history as we welcome participants in our country. We know many Filipinos play and support the game. Today, our esports industry stands on the edge of this tremendous growth, attracting a diverse audience, and we would like to take advantage of this diversity and convert them into tourists who love our country and explore further the bounty of our nation," added Bathan.
"Our secretary and the Department of Tourism has pushed further to embrace esports as an integral part of our Sports Tourism landscape."
The M5 World Championship will be in December in the Philippines and features 22 of the best MLBB teams in the world fighting for the lion's share of a US$900,000 prize pool and the right to call themselves MLBB world champions.