Wonggoys, now a band of six, is as chill as ever
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - October 4, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — From performing for uncles and aunts during family events when they were still kids, Gabe, Bill, and Kyle Wong of the Wonggoys band now put up their own shows and have more than just relatives cheering them on. These musician brothers have grown into artists in their own right.

“Gabe started to perform in bands and Kyle and I would always watch them. Not long after, both of us started jamming during their sets which led to the three of us performing as a trio. The rest is history,” Bill recalled of their beginnings.

After debuting in 2010 with the album “I’m Not Sure What To Say But I’ll Say It Anyway,” Wonggoys have shown off pop-driven melodies thanks to Bill and Kyle which accompannied Gabe’s lyricism.

The modern folk band released a reissue of “I’m Not Sure What To Say But I’ll Say It Anyway” in 2013 featuring new tracks. They have since performed in festivals and gigs in New York City and Baltimore.

It wasn’t until 2017 when the Cebuano act released their second album “High Hello” – a mix of rock, pop, and electronica and is about acceptance, love, infatuation, passion, and conviction.

The term Wonggoys was the special nickname their mom had for Gabe, Bill, and Kyle, whom she considers her “three little monkeys.” It was derived from their last name Wong, and the Filipino word “unggoy” which perfectly captures the band’s easygoing nature. These days, apart from the trio, Wonggoys is now a six-member band with Jeff Escarda on keyboard, Dabs Orat on bass, and Jeriel Larano on drums.

“As a band, we’ve always treated each other as brothers first rather than bandmates. The sense of family is always there and we all treat each other as equals. Different personalities is not a problem as long as there is a middle ground. That middle ground is the music we make. The six band members like different tastes when it comes to music but because each of us contribute in any way we can, we’ve built a very strong bond with each other. Like any other relationship, communication is the key,” said Bill.

Bill further shared that the beauty of working with his brothers offset the chinks in their armor. Apart from living under the same roof, they find it easier to navigate misunderstandings. And because of their bond, honesty isn’t that much of an issue.

“We consult with each other. Decisions are always made as a band as much as possible. It always must be a consensus. No one is left out and everybody is informed all the time. Communication is key. And that key came in the form of group chats,” said Bill.

Last year, Wonggoys released their very first Bisaya song “Wa’y ‘Blema,” a feel-good song that’s true to the band’s core of making the most of the moment.

Fans are in for a treat as the band returns to the drawing board to prepare for a new single, and their third album slated to be completed early next year.

“We’ve always wanted to show everybody how chil we are not only as a band but also as a family,” said Bill. “The first album basically covered that. In the second album we started to tackle social issues. The overall message we want to share though is that it’s a beautifu life basta chill lang.”

KYLE WONG
Philstar
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