For this edition of the Games, four designated hubs will serve as hosts namely Manila, Clark, Subic, and BLT (Batangas, La Union, and Tagaytay). This will be the fourth time that the Philippines will host the games and its first time since 2005. Previously, it had also hosted the 1981 and 1991 editions of the games. This edition is most notable for being the first edition to include e-sports as well as having the highest number of sports in the history of the games, at 56.
The hosting rights were originally awarded to Brunei Darussalam, but the country pulled out days before the 2015 Southeast Asian Games due to "financial and logistical reasons."
The Philippines was set to host the games, after Brunei's withdrawal. However, the Philippines' hosting was left uncertain following the withdrawal of government support on July 2017 as it plans to use the funds intended for the games on the rehabilitation of Marawi after being occupied by ISIS supporters. Thailand was willing to step in if no other countries expressed interest to host.