February 14, 2013

Resil Mojares’ “Heart and Liver”

How did it come to pass that we should love with our hearts instead of the liver? The pre-Spanish Filipino, like many of his contemporaries in Southeast Asia, believed that the liver (atay) is the seat of love. More: it is the bodily center of a person’s being, the source of power, courage, and strength. It is named in Philippine languages—atay, atey, hatay, ati—and has spawned numerous derivations that signify what is treasured, affective and elemental.