This was the third time the Philippines hosted the games and its first time since 1991. Previously, Philippines also staged the games for the first time in 1981. Around 5336 athletes from 11 participating nations participated at the games which featured 443 events in 40 sports. The games was held from 27 November to 5 December 2005, although several events had commenced from 20 November 2005. The games was opened and closed by Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, the President of the Philippines at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park.
The final medal tally was led by host Philippines, followed by Thailand and Vietnam. Several Games and national records were broken during the games. Though there were several controversies, the games were deemed generally successful with the rising standard of competition amongst the Southeast Asian Nations.
The 23rd Southeast Asian Games had 38 venues for the games, 19 in Manila, 5 each in Cebu and Negros Occidental respectively, 4 in Zambales, 2 each in Cavite and Laguna respectively and 1 in Pampanga
A ceremony was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, the host of the 2003 Southeast Asian Games to pass the flame to 2005 edition's host, the Philippines. After the flame arrived in Cebu, it passed through several cities in the Philippines before it ended in Manila on 27 November 2005.