Sabine at ESL One Manila 2016

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Pinoy Dota 2 fans have long been famous online (for a number of reasons), but their incredible passion for esports took the whole world by surprise after the country hosted ESL One Manila. It was the first international event of its scale to ever land on Philippine shores, and I remember how ecstatic I felt when I first heard the news. I’ve already seen plenty of amazing events already in my years of working in esports, but the kind of experience this one offered was on a whole different level.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect going into it. The mere thought of working with some of the most renowned personalities and teams in the international Dota 2 scene, was pretty overwhelming at first. But then again, I’ve always loved the exhilaration I’d feel from jumping into these events. I enjoyed treating them as challenges since they’d always become the most rewarding experiences.

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The dream team,!

One of the most exciting things about the entire event was the fact that I’d be surrounded by a whole lot of friends and familiar faces. Mineski is the local partner of ESL here in the Philippines, so the entire Mineski crew was there – including the team of course! I’ve been through so many e-sports events with this team already, so it’s always so wonderful when we all get to cover an event together. A lot of the writers work online so events like these are also mini-reunions for us and the Mineski office peeps. ♥

From Where We Stood

The non-stop action from all the matches was already insane, but watching from the stage area itself just made the experience even more incredible.

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The stage area.

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Of course, we had to be extra careful since there was a lot of equipment (+ wires. SO MANY wires) near the stage.

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Casters’ table.

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We also got a pretty good view of the teams, which was great since it allowed us to see and capture all the raw emotions they showed while playing.

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Break time in between matches.

Inside the Media Room

One of my favorite spots was definitely the media room, where all the media teams could set up their laptops and watch the matches without any unnecessary disturbances. Aside from working (and goofing off with the team) in here, I also got to meet up with e-sports writers from other media organizations. I’d already met some of them personally before, but it was nice to finally meet the ones that added me online. I also felt pretty kilig when some writers I didn’t know recognized me and introduced themselves. ☺

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The coverage hub (table) haha.

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When the ESL Dota 2 match and the ongoing Presidential Debate are both too juicy (and lit af) that you can’t afford to miss out on either!

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Coffee, laptops, coffee, laptops… coffee.

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We also had access to the buffet room next door – the same one where the pro teams would eat! I actually ran into the members of Team Secret there while they were on break. ☺

Snaps On the Ground

When I wasn’t taking breaks or watching matches in the press room, I was usually on the ground with my cam on roaming duty. No coverage article would be complete without photos. I also personally enjoy snapping as many event and behind-the-scenes pics as possible since it gives me something to look back on afterwards. I’d usually capture at least 200 photos during events like this, but I picked out a few of my favorite sights for the blog.

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View from the VIP seating area, my second favorite spot after the Press/Stage area. ☺

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TBH I felt like I was drowning in confetti while taking these victory photos.

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Fellow media peeps scrambling to capture all the excitement during Wings Gaming’s victory.

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Pinoy fans going wild as the members of Wings Gaming finally got their hands on the coveted ESL One Manila championship trophy.

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The merch booth made my wallet cry. Plus, they didn’t even have the shirts in my size!

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Time to pack up! I honestly enjoy the cleaning up part too during e-sports events since it’s the time when everyone gets to celebrate, mingle, and have fun (minus the stress).

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Overall, ESL One Manila was one heck of an experience. The event’s production value was unlike anything I’d ever seen in a local event before, and it was pretty amazing to see (and mingle with) some of the world’s best Dota 2 players. The tournament was incredibly intense – so intense that the crowd would roar to no end during each match. I also appreciated how well they treated those from the media.

Due to the immense success of this event and the Manila Major (I’ll post about this too!), international organizations and communities are now taking notice. The players, casters, and organizers were incredibly delighted with all the love and excitement they felt from the Pinoy crowd. So, who knows, we might  just see even more international events of this scale in the Philippines very soon! Let’s all keep our fingers crossed! ☺

Check out my Flipgeeks PH recap, my article on Wings Gaming,
and the coverage articles on!


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