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Iloilo Envisions to be the Next Esports Powerhouse in PH

Dethan Dario

Esports have become part of many Filipinos’ lives. Over the years, many young talented players have dreamt of becoming one of the very best, if not in the world, at least in the country.

In many games, there are a few that have already become part of the Philippines’ gaming ecosystem. In Dota 2, our country has already carved its name on the world stage. Aside from the famous game, Filipinos have also become the best country in Mobile Legends. Aside from the two, the Philippines has also shocked the world in FPS games, including Valorant. Last year, Team Secret acquired Bren’s Valorant team and has shocked the scene during the VCT Champions where the team took a bite against Gambit Esports.

As many continue to dream, Iloilo, a province in the country, is starting to make every dream a reality. In Iloilo City, the heart of the province, the LGU started the initiative of pampering every gamer who’s praying to etch a mark in the community.

Seeing this call, the government started to initiate ILO Esports which aims to make esports a thriving industry. Hyprgame had an opportunity to catch an interview with the people behind the project.

PH's esports capital? Iloilo City pushing to become one | ABS-CBN News

What pushed Iloilo to pursue ILO Esports initiative?

It all started when I sent a message to Iloilo City’s Youth and Sports Office Facebook page for a partnership. The office readily provided the resources we need for the tournament prizes. Along that time, PPGL announced their LoLWR tournament circuit where teams from N Luzon, S Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will have a chance to compete on the national stage for a chance to represent the Philippines in the Wild Rift SEA Championships. So I rebranded the second season to Proving Grounds, a four-week tournament where we scouted for teams who we’ll support in the upcoming Visayas leg of the PPGL tournament and who will play under the ILO Esports name.

Although we have failed to secure a spot, that initiative sparked an even brighter purpose in me to start what no other person has started in the world – create an Esports organization backed and supported by its LGU who will represent the city and become champions and advocates of Esports in their localities. With my already established association with our Youth and Sports Office, I pitched the idea and I’m very grateful that they are open to it.

So I started to write the draft for the Executive Order for the creation of an Esports Committee for the purposes of pursuing the initiative of making Iloilo an Esports hub in the Philippines and preparing a roadmap that will be a guide to realize the said goal. Mayor Jerry Treñas recently signed the EO and with the rest of the Iloilo City Esports Committee, we will execute the programs in a roadmap that I prepared to make this happen.

Who spearheads ILO Esports? Is he/she a fan of esports?

Jamar Montehermoso founded ILO Esports and is currently its CEO. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Iloilo City Esports Committee (ICEC).

His interest started from watching the League of Legends World Championships and it just grew from there. He even hosted a watch party in his bar for the LoL Worlds 2019. Right now, he closely follows the LEC, MPL, and looking forward to the PPGL LoL: Wild Rift and Valorant Tournament Circuit.

Iloilo City

What games will the group be investing on?

  • Since Dota has been one of the biggest games where our Filipino players have won most prize money, why is it not on the list?

Right now, we will only focus on MLBB, LoLWR, and Valorant because they are the games with the most player base in our community. Later this year, we’ll be launching Esports teams under these titles who will play under the ILO Esports banner and represent the city in various tournaments. If we’ll receive more support and resources, we’ll expand to more titles like DOTA 2, LoL PC, CODM, and Pokemon Unite respectively.

WVSU E-sports Team ranks 3rd in Iloilo Charter Day Interschool LOL  Tournament – Welcome to WVSU
(c) ICON

What will be the team’s first projects? Can you elaborate more on your plans regarding gaming tournaments and workshops?

We are currently on the last week of our first major project – the ILO Esports ML League Season 1. We plan to continue this quarterly MLBB tournaments alongside with a tournament circuit to scout LoLWR and Valorant players. We’re going to partner with a local mall here in Iloilo to hold these events, hoping that face-to-face events are going to be possible by March.

For the workshop, we just had the “Bulig Shoutcasting Workshop” hosted by Santie, the youngest and only Ilonggo shoutcaster who will be an onscreen talent on MPL Season 9. For the next Quarters, we will do Content Creation, Streaming, and Event Organizing respectively.

How will you be organizing workshops? Will you be inviting experts for the workshops? Any name that’s already on top of your heads?

We conducted the “Bulig Shoutcasting Workshop” online through our Discord server with a live stream on our Facebook Page, For the rest of the workshops, we’re hopeful that we can do it in a face-to-face setting. One of the members of ICEC is the Head of the SK of Iloilo City and we’ll organize the events in partnership with them.

We’ll also be reaching out to local industry heads to host these workshops.

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