|Birth name||Westdon Martin Abay|
|Born||April 5, 1971|
|Genres||Rock, Pinoy Rock|
|Associated acts||Yano, Pan, dongabay|
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.
In 1994, at the height of Yano's popularity, Abay had to temporarily quit his schooling at the University of the Philippines, where he was an Arts and Letters student, to pursue a career in music. Yano released 2 more albums under BMG, a major label : "Bawal" ("Taboo") in 1996 and "Tara" ("C'mon") in 1997. The eponymous debut album was first released under Alpha Records but was later re-issued by BMG.
During the late 1990s, Abay suffered from clinical depression after quitting Yano. He only stayed in his bedroom for five years. Although, Abay describe this episode as a self-imposed hiatus. He came out of depression while writing new songs set into poetry. He later called Badiang to borrow a guitar and jam.
In 2002, Abay returned to the music scene and formed Pan together with Onie Badiang, former bassist of Yano. The outcome was an album titled "Parnaso ng Payaso" ("A Clown's Collection of Poetry."- see Parnassus). Some notable songs from the album include "Dumpsite", "Hula" ("Prediction", which won as Best Folk/Pop Recording at the AWIT Awards in 2003), "Mabuhay!" ("Long Live") and "Rebolusyon" ("Revolution"). Pan played for the local rock circuit with bassist, Milo Duane Cruz and drummer Melvin Leyson.
In 2003, Abay decided to go back to school to finish his bachelor's degree. Thus, the demise of Pan. Aside from his music, Abay got busy exploring other medium and art forms like installation work, visual arts, photography to name a few. He also became busy lecturing and giving workshops around the country.
Abay became an indie artist and initially released an EP called "Sampol" ("Sample") at the University of the Philippines as part of his undergraduate thesis. This work consists of acoustic tracks, which were later reborn as full-band pieces in "Flipino," released in May 2006. The album was produced by Robin Rivera, Abay's Art Studies professor in U.P. and album producer of The Eraserheads who eventually hired ex-Eraserheads Raimund Marasigan and Buddy Zabala to play in the entire album. "Flipino" proved Abay's relevance to Philippine music by releasing songs such as "Perpekto" ("Perfect"), "Bombardment" and "Tuyo" ("Dry")". A month before that, Abay finally earned his degree of Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Studies (Areas: Creative Writing in Filipino and Humanities) from the University of the Philippines after 18 long years.
His latest effort was a conceptual album called Rebulto ("Bust"), which focuses entirely on the Rizal Monument along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, and written from the perspective of Jose Rizal, considered one the Philippine National Heroes, for which the monument stand, in the present day. The lyrics are mostly written in the first person, except for a couple of tracks, notably, the first track, "Kilometro Zero" ("Kilometer Zero"), which is a collation of facts about the Rizal Monument, all lifted from Wikipedia. (In the Philippines, the highway system uses the Rizal Monument, or kilometer zero as a reference for metric distance to any point in the country.) The album was also produced and performed by Raimund Marasigan and Buddy Zabala.
- "Dong Abay's Pan: Another Gem". MTV Asia News. 2006-01-16. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "Rivera's Blog about Dong Abay's album". Robin Rivera ("Flipino" album producer). Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- "Music review: Rizal walks the earth in Dong Abay's Rebulto". Ren Aguila. Retrieved 2013-11-20.