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Back in the old days, film geeks endured Friday night video store madness and DIBIDI-hunting trips to seedy parts of Manila just to get their movie fix. Now you can watch the most obscure foreign language film while waiting for the next train. So throw out your DIBIDIs and download these five apps guaranteed to boost your movie junkie cred!
This is one of the first video-on-demand (VOD) service providers in the Philippines and is still one of the most reliable. Hooq has over 30,000 hours of—admittedly—mostly yawn-inducing Hollywood mainstream fare. What will get you hooq-ed (pun intended) is its impressive library of Pinoy film classics. From film school staples like City After Dark: Manila By Night, Scorpio Nights, and Sister Stella L to timeless Sharon-Gabby movies like P.S. I Love You, Hooq seems to specialize in throwback feels.
SUBSCRIPTION: PhP199/month, with a 7-day free trial
There is a reason why Netflix is the industry leader among streaming apps—Original Content. Sure, most films and TV shows streaming on Netflix in the US are not available here due to copyright issues, but Netflix more than makes up for it with its award-winning and groundbreaking exclusive offers. Beasts of No Nation almost got Idris Elba nominated for an Oscar last year and other Netflix Originals like Tallulah and The Fundamentals of Caring are pretty awesome, too. The only reason it is so low on this list is because it is series-heavy and doesn’t really offer Pinoy films. Yet.
SUBSCRIPTION: Free for a month, then PhP369/mo to PhP569/mo, depending on sharing and video quality
3. NICHE APPS (SUNDANCE NOW, DEKKOO, CRUNCHYROLL)
Streaming giants like Hooq and Netflix can sometimes be overwhelming with the thousands of titles in its arsenal. Those who prefer niche content download streaming apps that are more specific, more tailormade for alternative viewing preferences. Dekkoo specializes in award-winning LGBTQ films and original series. Sundance Now is the home of documentaries, even ones that didn’t screen in Sundance. Crunchyroll is for anime geeks. These audience-specific apps offer more undiscovered titles in the genre that you love and purge off all the mainstream clutter.
SUBSCRIPTION: PhP149 to PhP349/mo
iflix is pretty much just like Hooq—they both have deals with major Hollywood film outlets like Disney and Warner, so you’ll see a huge content overlap. But if Hooq has Pinoy film classics in its roster, iflix has a more young and hip Pinoy film library. A lot of Star Cinema releases are here like A Very Special Love, My Amnesia Girl, and This Guy’s In Love with You Mare, as well Cannes Best Director Brillante Mendoza’s entire filmography as well as Cinemalaya and CineFilipino Film Festival hits. iflix also has a strong TV line-up, offering shows from all major TV networks in the Philippines.
SUBSCRIPTION: PhP129/mo, almost free if you’re a Smart/PLDT subscriber
There is no streaming app more appealing to the most hardcore of cinephiles than Mubi. There are only 30 movies available on this app at any given time—each day a film is added to the list, and it remains there for 30 days until it is bumped off to make space for another film—and while that may not seem plenty, the films on offer are mostly highly acclaimed, foreign-language titles that you won’t see anywhere else. For example, there’s a weekly dose of French films, and a retrospective of Pinoy auteur Lav Diaz’s shorter works happening this month on Mubi, and it simply does not get any more highbrow than that! Mubi films are curated by the staff and your fellow cineastes, and they provide a much needed variety to the glut of basic movies on offer on other streaming apps.
SUBSCRIPTION: Free for a month, then PhP299/mo.