Resil Mojares’ “Heart and Liver”

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.