Having claimed an impressive 3-0 win over Indonesia in their Group A opener on Friday, Vietnam headed into the tie at the Viet Tri Stadium as favourites but were aware confidence was also high in the Philippines camp after their 4-0 triumph over Timor-Leste.
As expected, it was the Vietnamese who looked the more dangerous of the two teams but they were just unable to find a way past a resilient opposition defence, who also had Quincy Kammeraad to thank for some assured goalkeeping.
A couple of gilt-edged chances did fall the way of the tournament hosts in the closing stages of the contest but they were let down by some indecisive finishing, with the usually-clinical Nguyen Tien Linh one of the culprits as Philippines held on for a well-earned point.
In Sunday's other Group A tie, Myanmar threw away a two-goal lead but then snatched a dramatic 95th-minute winner to beat Timor-Leste 3-2.
But after Mouzinho had reduced the deficit with a superb freekick in the 52nd minute, Jaimito Soares then pounced on some haphazard defending to equalise from close range and look to give the Timorese a genuine chance of earning a point.
But in the fifth minute of injury-time, it was Myanmar's turn to capitalise on pandemonium inside the opposition area, with Aung Wunna Soe keeping his composure to fire home and hand his side a winning start.
Myanmar continue their campaign against Philippines on Tuesday while Indonesia -- having sat out Sunday's action -- return to action against Timor-Leste looking to bounce back from a heavy opening loss to the Vietnamese.