As I write this while working from home due to the community quarantine, I cannot help but think of the many virtual things we’ve tried while in our homes. Streaming sites are a must to pass the time. Good thing too, since many of these don’t really cost too much, compared with a movie ticket outside during a normal weekend.
Importantly, we can mostly pay using GCash for these.
Setting up your GCash for Payment
How can I pay using GCash?
It’s easy, you can either use your GCash Mastercard if you have it or use your Virtual AMEX card within the app itself. Some of the sites I mentioned also have GCash payment integrations, so you don’t need to pay using any cards.
How do I apply for a GCash Mastercard? How do I pay using GCash Mastercard?
All of the details are found in this post.
How do I set up my Virtual Pay AMEX Card?
Basically, you only need to enter your email address to be able to apply for one. Here is how you can set up your AMEX Card.
How do I get a CVV for my AMEX Card?
You just click on “Get New Code” and the new CVV will be sent via text to you. Please take note of this as this is used for saving your card.
What if I get an error linking my AMEX Card?
This is usually a technical issue. You can use our GCash Mastercard to link instead, or wait and see if it succeeds. Otherwise, it would be better to file a support ticket.
How do I use my GCash Mastercard or AMEX Card?
You can use it just like a regular debit card, meaning you need to have funds in your GCash balance to be able to do a payment. AMEX Cards can only be used online — you cannot use them for real-life store merchants, unlike GCash Mastercard.
How do I put funds into my GCash account?
You can refer to my in-depth guide for other details if you need more information on how to do cash-in.
11 streaming apps you can pay using GCash
Generally, you can subscribe to any streaming app that you can use your AMEX or GCash Mastercard as a payment option. However, here are the notable ones:
Youtube Premium is the ad-free version of Youtube. This bundle also comes with Youtube Music which makes it value for money. You can subscribe to Youtube Premium at Php 239 per month via Google Play or Apple Store and you can include up to 6 family members with your subscription.
Netflix has different plans, depending on the quality of the video, the devices supported and the users allowed concurrently.
Netflix Streaming Plans
- Mobile – allows one phone or tablet at a time in standard definition
- Basic – allows one device (phone, tablet, computer, or TV) at a time in standard definition
- Standard – allows two devices (phone, tablet, computer, or TV) at a time in 1080p HD resolution
- Premium – allows four devices (phone, tablet, computer, or TV) at a time in 1080p HD or 4k resolutions
When subscribing using GCash, you can go either the debit card route (AMEX or GCash Mastercard), or you can pay via GCash auto-debit. For auto-debit, you will be charged for the subscription monthly using your GCash balance.
Subscribing using GCash auto-debit
- After selecting a streaming plan, choose GCash under the payment method.
- Input your GCash account number and click on “Start Membership”.
- After going to the next page, scan the QR code using your GCash app. Approve the auto-debit agreement to initiate payment.
3. HBO Go
HBO Go is for the HBO series. There is also an option of watching Live HBO channels from within the app which makes it another value-for-money app.
Subscription is via Google Play or Apple Store and costs Php 149 per month. Sometimes you may also see a promo for a 3-month subscription for only Php 300. If you use a computer to create an account, the options are linking your debit card for payment, or linking your operator subscription (Sky, Cignal, Globe) if you have one.
4. Prime Video
Prime Video has a big library of content and has exclusives as they are under Amazon. This subscription also includes Prime Gaming if you are also interested in gaming streams.
Subscription costs USD 6.00 (Php 300) per month. You can only pay via credit or debit card — in this case, AMEX or GCash Mastercard.
iQiyi is a video streaming platform that has a lineup of anime, KDrama, CDrama, and even local titles. Previously, they also provided streaming of beauty pageants like Miss Universe.
A VIP subscription provides 2 or more devices to stream, 1080p resolution, advanced and exclusive content. This costs Php 99 per month, Php 49 per week, or Php 999 per year.
IWantTFC is ABS-CBN’s digital library and includes all teleseryes, movies, music, talk shows, news, and exclusives from the media company. They are pretty popular with many OFWs and local housewives.
Premium subscriptions cost Php 120 via Google Play or Apple Store, but you can also use load or SDKs from Globe or Smart to pay for subscriptions. This means you can use Gigasurf for Smart and GoWatch for Globe to be able to watch. If you watch via computer, you can purchase subscriptions using a credit/debit card.
Viu is to KDrama fans as Crunchyroll is to anime fans. You can get Korean shows and movies as well. They also have a selection of Asian TV series from all over Asia.
You can watch shows but you will be seeing a lot of ads. If you want to upgrade to Premium, the first 3 months are worth Php 49 via Google Play or Apple Store. After this promo period, you will then need to pay Php 129 per month. They also have a tie-up with Codashop.
8. WeTV IFlix
You can watch IFlix selections even using their free tier, as long as you don’t mind the ads. Their selections include a range of Korean, Chinese, local, and international titles.
You can unlock VIP, which is Php 65 for the first month, but Php 129 for subsequent months. There are also quarterly (Php 175 in the first quarter, Php 349 in the next), and annual (Php 629 in the first year, Php 1250 after). These can be purchased via Google Play or Apple Store.
Similar to Viu, you can get KDrama shows here. Not only that, but it also has a selection of Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese titles.
You can watch their content for free if you don’t mind ads. To subscribe to ad-free membership, you can subscribe for around Php 235 per month (or Php 2550 per year). This can either be purchased via Google Play or Apple Store or via credit/debit card on the computer.
Crunchyroll is for those who are fans of anime and manga. However, looking at the selection, it seems a bit sparse. Netflix has a bigger library in general. That said, you can watch Crunchyroll sponsored anime here.
They have a 14-day trial and support Google Play or Apple Store, credit card, and Paypal for payment. Once the 14 day trial is up, you will be charged around USD 8.00 (around Php 415) per month. Take note that since they support Paypal, if you’ve linked your AMEX or GCash MC to Paypal, you can also use that payment method as well.
11. UpStream PH
UStream is a bit different from the typical streaming app. It allows users to rent their titles. Their titles include different KDramas and anime.
The method of payment is a bit different since UStream is a GLife merchant. You can pay directly from inside the GLife platform.
Spotify is still the best music streaming app out there. You can add your family members to share accounts. There is a free tier, but they have ads.
Premium costs Php 129 a month and you can pay directly via GCash auto-debit. You can also use your prepaid load (Smart or Globe) to pay for a subscription.
Some upgrade ideas for your watch party
Is there a way to stream into my TV?
Yes. All of the sites I’ve listed above also support Chromecast and Apple TV casting.
How do I set my Chromecast up?
Here is a handy guide to help you.
How can I subscribe to Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney Plus?
As these are not currently available in the Philippines, you will need to subscribe to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to be able to visit the site. Some popular ones include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost. Take note that not all VPN services can do this. You should look around first and do your research.
Once you’ve subscribed to a VPN service, you can then connect to a US server and sign up for those streaming sites like Hulu and others. For payment, you will need to use alternative methods like Paypal.
However, you cannot do the GCash Mastercard and AMEX Virtual Pay method for Disney Plus because it asks for your ZIP code when you input the credit card details. But there is a way to circumvent that using this method.
Does this mean I can also see specific country content using a VPN?
Another side benefit of using a VPN is you can actually watch the US Content of other streaming sites like Netflix and Crunchyroll. If you change it to another country (like Japan, for example) the content will change as well.
Here is another example, I tried to connect to Youtube using a Japan NordVPN server. The Youtube ads and the Netflix screens are different from the Philippines.
Unfortunately though, you cannot stream it to your Chromecast or Apple TV without significant tinkering. Meaning, you can only watch on the device with the VPN installed (either PC or phone).
Another downside is sometimes you need to sign up on that country site. For example, HBO Go distinguishes accounts between countries. You will need to create a US account to be able to access its content. This is what happens when you try to access HBO Go from the Philippines using a VPN in the US:
Is there a way to watch my downloaded movies and series on my TV using my Chromecast?
Yes, you can set up your own streaming server using Plex. The beauty of Plex is you can remote control your server using your phone, and you can also add subtitles and change the quality of the stream on the fly. Plex also supports Chromecast.
I’ve summarized all of the major streaming apps currently in the Philippines and I’ve also included the prices and supported payment methods of each. Using GCash Mastercard or AMEX Virtual Pay, it is easy to pay for any service or product online.
I also added some info on how to maximize your viewing options, by VPNs to access country-specific content on streaming sites, using Chromecast to stream to your TV, and using Plex to set up your own home streaming server.
Here are some similar blog posts:
If you’d like to learn more about GCash, I created a how-to on the basics of GCash.
Here is a list of links if you’re interested in the main GCash features: