I am currently writing this while being compelled to work from home due to the community quarantine. It can get boring at home (or hectic when you have a toddler who wants to go out and play) but at least my family is safe. Hopefully yours is as well. If not, my prayers are out to you and your family.
In the meantime, while we’re being confined at home, why not suggest some streaming sites 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. We can also subscribe on a monthly basis and then once everything normalizes, we can always cancel the next month’s subscription.
Most importantly, we can pay using GCash for these. No need to go out of the house.
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 has integrations, so you don’t even need any of the cards above.
How do I apply for a GCash Mastercard? How do I pay using GCash Mastercard?
All of the details are found here.
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. If you need more details, I’ve also written a piece about it here.
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 SMS to you. Take note of this as this is used for payment online.
What do I do if I get an error linking my AMEX Card?
Sometimes issues like this happen when linking. This is typically a technical issue. We can wait and try again later, or use our GCash Mastercard to link instead.
How do I use my GCash Mastercard or AMEX Card?
You use it just like a debit card, meaning you need to have funds in your GCash balance to be able to pay. AMEX Cards are only usable online — you cannot use it for actual store merchants, unlike GCash Mastercard.
How do I put funds into my GCash account?
We all know how to pay using GCash now. But how do we fund our wallet?
The easiest way is transferring is via debit card or bank cash-in, even better if you have a BPI or a Unionbank account. Or you can also initiate a bank to bank transfer (to G-XChange, Inc) with your favorite banking app. Take note, for bank transfers, the account number is your GCash mobile number.
Streaming sites you can pay using GCash
What are some sites I can use GCash to pay?
Actually, any site that allows payment via debit card, you can use your GCash Mastercard or AMEX Virtual Pay. But some of the notable ones include:
You can subscribe to Youtube Premium at Php 239 per month. You can also add up to 6 family members with the subscription. This bundle also comes with Youtube Music and removes all ads in videos.
You don’t even need AMEX/GCash MC to pay for this as Google has a payment integration with GCash.
Netflix as one of the biggest movie streaming sites is popular here. It’s so popular in fact, it has rolled our a mobile only plan at Php 149.
I looked at my Netflix account to confirm, and it’s true.
Anyway, you can select what plan you want depending on the number of users that can stream at anytime and the quality of the stream. I personally prefer HD since we have a couple of HD TVs at home paired with Chromecasts.
IFlix is also a popular pick, as they have a tie-up with Smart. If you buy an SDK with Smart (i.e., Gigasurf plans), you can get a 3-month free subscription. But actually 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 Asian titles, as well as local teleseryes.
You can unlock VIP, which is Php 129 a month. But you can also pay daily (Php 10 a day) or weekly (Php 50 a day).
This has the popular HBO only series (Game of Thrones, Westworld, Chernobyl, The Handmaid’s Tale, etc) and also a lot of movies we can see in the HBO cable channel. But in terms of popularity, this is one of the relatively lesser-known ones.
Subscription is via Google Play, and costs Php 149 per month. If you have a Skycable cable service, you can also link your subscription to it.
Amazon Prime Video has also a big library of content, and has exclusives like The Boys, The Expanse, The Man in the High Castle, and others. Also includes Twitch Prime if you are also interested in gaming streams.
Subscription costs USD 6.00 (Php 300) per month.
HOOQ is also one of the competitors offering local and international flicks. They also have TV shows and channels too (like CNN Philippines. Al Jazeera and Arirang TV). Update: as of April 30, HOOQ has officially shut down.
IWant 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 for many OFWs as well as housewives and lolas.
Premium subscriptions costs Php 120, but you can also use load or SDKs from Globe or Smart to pay for subscriptions. Meaning, you can use Gigasurf for Smart and GoWatch for Globe to be able to watch.
Crunchyroll is for those who are fans of anime and manga. This is a good thing for non-techie fans as it beats downloading torrents of shows every time a new episode comes up.
They have a 14 day trial, and supports credit card and Paypal for payment. Once the 14 day trial is up, you will be charged around USD 8.00 (around Php 400) 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.
Viu is to KDrama fans as Crunchyroll is to anime fans. You can also get Korean shows, movies as well. They also have a selection of Asian TV series from all over Asia.
They have a 14 day trial, similar to Crunchyroll. Once the trial period is over, you will need to pay Php 129 per month. They also have a tie-up with Globe using the VIU99 SDK.
Similar to Viu, you can get KDrama shows in here. Not only that, 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, there are two tiers – one is Basic for around Php 45 per month (or Php 500 per year) and another is Standard for around Php 200 per month (or Php 2500 per year). The difference is for Standard you have early access to exclusives as well as access to movies.
Spotify is still the best music streaming app out there. It beats Youtube Music handily. You can add your family members to share accounts. There is a free tier, but they have ads.
Premium costs Php 129 a month, however you can also use your prepaid load (Smart or Globe) to pay for a subscription. And you can also pay for a daily rate (Php 15 a day) or weekly rate (Php 49 a week).
Some nice to have options for your watch party
Is there a way to stream this into my TV? I find it hard to hold my phone during my watch marathon.
Yes. All of the sites I’ve listed above also support Chromecast. I find Chromecast pretty useful since you can easily transfer from phone to TV in just a couple of clicks. For Apple TV users, most of these support it as well (except for IFlix).
I have a new Chromecast. How do I set it up?
Here is a handy guide to help you.
How about the US only sites like Hulu, and Disney Plus? Can I also subscribe for those?
Yes, but with a little workaround. You will need to subscribe to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. 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 (some of them have free trial periods), you can then connect to a US server and sign up for those streaming sites like Hulu and others.
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 to 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 in 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 into my TV using my Chromecast, but without using a USB flashdrive/dongle?
Yes, you can setup 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 sites currently in the Philippines and I’ve also included the rates 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 in streaming sites, by using Chromecast to stream to your TV and by using Plex to setup your own home streaming server.
Here are some similar blog posts, while we’re all in quarantine:
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 with the main GCash functions:
- Cash in or Cash out
- GCash Scams
- Send Money
- Bank Transfer
- Payment via QR
- GCash Mastercard
- AMEX Virtual Pay
- Pay Bills
- Request Money
- Buy Load
- GCash Forest
- Book Movies
- GCash via USSD (*143#)
- Receiving Remittances
If you are also interested in knowing what resources I used in making this blog happen, please take a look at my resources page.
How do you like the tutorial? Did I miss anything? Please add your comments and suggestions below!