Dong Abay

Westdon Martin Abay (born April 5, 1971), popularly known as Dong Abay, is a poet and a Pinoy rock musician. He was the founding member, songwriter and lead vocalist of the bands Yano, Pan, and dongabay, which are now all defunct. As of January 2008, he is pursuing a career as an independent artist. Born on April 5, 1971 in Manila, Philippines, he shares his birthday with the former Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the date of Abay's birth was also the day when American rockstar Kurt Cobain of Nirvana committed suicide in 1994. He is married to Ninj Botor Reyes. They have a son named Awit (Tagalog for "song" or "chant"), born on May 15, 2002. In 1992, Dong Abay, Eric Gancio and Larry Mapolon met in Patatag, a progressive vocal ensemble. After a year, they decided to form a band called NG (pronounced as en-ji and derived from the Ng diagraph of the Filipino alphabet) with percussionist Renmin Nadela. Abay and Gancio remained and recruited musical arranger and bassist, Onie Badiang to the group. Eventually, the band's name was renamed to Yano. They recorded their demo at the home studio of alternative artist Joey Ayala in June 1993. One of the tracks, "Kumusta Na?," ("How Are You?") a song about the "EDSA Revolution", found its way to a local radio station where the group was first heard. This paved the way for Yano to become active in the local club circuit. Mayrics, Club Dredd, 70s Bistro were among the first clubs that Yano performed in. Drummers for the band included Nowie Favila (Ang Grupong Pendong), Nonong Timbalopez (Put3Ska, Ex President's Combo), Jun Nogoy (Coffeebreak Island) and Harley Alarcon (Rizal Underground). In 1994, the band's self-titled debut album came out and spawned classic Filipino rock songs such as "Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo" ("Holy Dog, Saintly Horse"), "Tsinelas" ("Slippers") and "Esem" (wordplay for SM or Shoemart mall). This was followed by a string of successful concerts around the Philippine archipelago.