FILM

Where to stream Filipino films: 2023 edition

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Here are other movie streaming apps (aside from Netflix) where you can watch Filipino films, new and old. In photo: Jun Robles Lana's film "Big Night," streaming on Amazon Prime Video . Screenshot from AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

In 2022, ABS-CBN Film Restoration partnered with Netflix to bring restored Filipino classics to the streaming giant’s catalog, starting with films such as Ishmael Bernal’s “Himala,” Peque Gallaga’s “Oro Plata Mata” and Gil M. Portes’ “Markova: Comfort Gay.”

There always seems to be a debate whether Filipino movies are worth watching. Some people apparently have a singular view of local films (a.k.a. the Vice Ganda filmography) or those who think that production studios only churn out rom-coms or unscary horror movies (somewhat true). But there are production studios putting out great work — work so great that before the pandemic, many critics and pundits dubbed the current era as the third golden age of Filipino films (see our Best Filipino Films of the 2010s or our annual Best Filipino Films list as proof). There are plenty of great films that appeal to different kinds of audiences. The pandemic has enabled audiences to discover films they might have skipped in the theaters because of the quick pullout “rule.” Films like “Ang Pangarap Kong Holdap,” “I’m Drunk, I Love You,” and “Smaller and Smaller Circles” are enjoying a second life on Netflix under the streaming platform’s Popular and Trending Now lists.

Here, we list the other movie streaming apps (aside from Netflix) where you can deep dive and discover (or re-discover) that there’s more to FIlipino films than you thought. Aside from updating the list, we’ve also removed some of the ones that have gone offline (for the time being) and added the streaming services that started streaming Pinoy movies in 2022.

Screenshot from PRIME VIDEO/OFFICIAL SITE

1. Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video recently added several Filipino films on their roster. Some you’ll find in Netflix and other streaming platforms, but some are hard to find, such as “Whether the Weather is Fine,” the Metro Manila Film Festival 2021 Best Picture winner “Big Night,” Brillante Mendoza’s action film “Resbak,” and Isabel Sandoval’s Venice Days film “Lingua Franca.” More Filipino films forthcoming.

Subscriptions are at ₱149. Subscriptions are also available through Globe.

Screenshot from WETV/OFFICIAL SITE

2. WeTV

Tencent Video’s international version is home to many Pinoy TV shows and movies. The video app is slowly trying out original Filipino shows such as girls’ love series “Betcin” starring Kylie Padilla and Andrea Torres, and the hilarious sex comedy “The Kangks Show” with Angelica Panganiban (it is one of WeTV’s top hits). WeTV has a small catalogue of Filipino films, which includes the hit remake “Miracle No. 7,” “Ghost Bride” and “Block 7.”

VIP subscription (more devices and ad-free) start at a discounted price of ₱65 (₱129 regularly).

Screenshot from VIVAMAX/OFFICIAL SITE

3. VivaMax

One of the most talked about newbies in the film streaming game is VivaMax. Home to the new wave of pito-pito films, the site is a treasure trove of skin flicks and Viva classics. You can mine the app for, well, Viva’s vast catalog — from Lino Brocka classics to JaDine hits. A multi-screen subscription is definitely worth it. Some recommended films include Ishmael Bernal’s “Working Girls,” Antoinette Jadaone’s “Never Not Love You,” Alvin Yapan’s “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa,” Lawrence Fajardo’s “Reroute,” and Irene Villamor’s “Ikaw at Ako at ang Ending.” I could go on and on.

A subscription starts at ₱149.

Screenshot from IWANTTFC/OFFICIAL SITE

4. iWantTFC

The merged version of iWantTV and TFC features films and TV shows from ABS-CBN, so expect a lot of Star Cinema rom-coms and horror movies. Movies are also for rent such as the recent MMFF entry “Whether the Weather is Fine” and the hilarious “Mamu (and a Mother Too).” You can also find some Cinemalaya films such as “I, America,” “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank,” and “John Denver Trending.” iWant previously ventured into original content, producing films such as the horror film “Ma” and the Angel Aquino-Tony Labrusca starrer, “Glorious.”

A subscription starts at ₱119.

Screenshot from CIGNAL PLAY/OFFICIAL SITE

5. Cignal Play

CignalPlay is Cignal TV’s streaming venture, which hosts TV channels such as TV5, OneSports, OnePH, A2Z, and PTV4. The selection of films is pretty decent with “Babae at Baril,” “Kalel, 15,” “Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus,” and “Born Beautiful.” The platform also features films from the CignalTV and Unitel film festival CineFilipino, such as “Poon,” “Sakaling Hindi Makarating,” “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita,” which is one of the best Filipino films of the 2010s.

Basic channels are for free. A subscription starts at ₱75.

Screenshot from KTX/OFFICIAL SITE

6. KTX.ph

Aside from voting for your favorite Dream Maker, this pay-per-view site premieres films that otherwise would have enjoyed theatrical releases (no thanks to the pandemic) such as the DonBelle film “Love is Color Blind,” which became the platform’s biggest digital premiere and highest grossing movie. Though now Filipino films are premiering in theaters, KTX is still home to most of the ABS-CBN Film Restoration’s catalog — which is basically Filipino film history. Choose from well-known classics such as “Oro Plata Mata,” “Moral,” and “Kakabakaba Ka Ba?” to hidden gems such as “Haplos” (1982) and “Misteryo sa Tuwa” (1984). You’ll end up spending countless hours (and money) once you fall into this rabbit hole.

Screenshot from YOUTUBE/OFFICIAL SITE

7. YouTube

YouTube also has many free full-length films, many of which were uploaded to the platform during the first few months of the lockdown. Production companies such as TBA Studios (“Bliss,” “I’m Drunk, I Love You,” “Tandem,” “Smaller and Smaller Circles''), Cinema One, which includes films from their film festival Cinema One Originals, (“Mamay Umeng,” “Sanctissima,” and FPJ films such as “Kapag Lumaban ang Api”) both have a great selection of films, ranging from the artsy to the accessible.

Other channels such as ABS-CBN Star Cinema, Viva Films, and Cinema Tol also have full movies available. Some filmmakers like Kip Oebanda (“Bar Boys”) have also made some of their films available on YouTube. Just remember: the search term “Full Movie” is the key.

Screenshot from FDCP CHANNEL/OFFICIAL SITE

8. FDCP channel

The government’s own Film Development Council of the Philippines has its own streaming venture with the FDCP channel. The lineup changes frequently but some of the great films that have appeared on the platform include the one-take “Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria” by Cebuano filmmaker Remton Siega Zuasola, Brillante Mendoza’s “Ma’ Rosa” (the film that earned Jaclyn Jose a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress award), and the restored version of the classics “Temptation Island” and “Genghis Khan.”

Screenshot from MUBI/OFFICIAL SITE

9. Mubi

Mubi mostly carries a well-curated selection of films from around the world but they currently have a spotlight on Lav Diaz called “It’s About Time: The Cinema of Lav Diaz,” which includes “Ebolusyon ng Pamilyang Pilipino” and “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon” — which you can’t stream anywhere else. They also have Kidlat Tahimik’s “Perfumed Nightmare.”

Subscription is ₱349 monthly.