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The Sad History of Visa Troubles for Filipino Esports Teams

By Philbert Dy
September 08, 2021

The Filipino Esports scene suffered a major disappointment recently. Bren Esports, who won the Southeast Asian leg of the Valorant Challengers Tour, were denied a visa to travel to Berlin for the VCT Masters. The VCT issued a statement citing tightening travel restrictions for their inability to secure the travel visas for the team. Ash Mahinay over at IGN points out, however, that this isn’t the first time a qualifying Filipino Esports Team wasn’t able to travel to a major tournament.

Pandemic-related travel restrictions have certainly made things more challenging, but Mahinay lists a series of incidents that have more to do with a local bureaucracy that has yet to adapt to the needs of this growing field. Here’s Mahinay on the 2015 incident involving DOTA 2 team Rave:

“After their historic performance at the 2015 Dota 2 Asian Championships (and a then unprecedented US$150,000 prize), several Rave players on the way back to train in South Korea were literally pulled out of their plane seats by Filipino authorities – for a lack of an Overseas Employment Certificate.

Mahinay also details what happened with TNC Pro Team and Execration in 2016, who only got to travel thanks to the influence of a major political figure:

“They managed to clutch a new visa the day before their flight though, rather memorably it also took the heavyweight assistance of Senator Bam Aquino for them to pull it off.”

The list paints a pretty dour pattern: Filipino players showing an ability to compete with the very best in the world, only to be denied the right to travel abroad to do so. With the Philippines now boasting some of the very best gamers in the world, this is an issue that’s going to need addressing.

Check out the full article at IGN SEA: The Most Memorable Visa Denials Involving Filipino Esports Teams

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