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What Does Hev Abi’s Face Tattoo Mean?

We look into the meaning behind the new ink of local hip-hop staple, Hev Abi, presenting a tribute to one of his greatest influences in music and life.
James Francisco

Hev Abi‘s steady rise in the local hip-hop scene supersedes the mold of the “traditional” Filipino rapper, welcoming foreign influences while staying true to his lyricism, style, and flair. And while his sound manages a recognizable distinction as one of the faces of the genre, he introduces a new addition to his ensemble, quite literally on his face.

The 22-year-old took his new ink to Instagram earlier in the week of what appears to be Japanese characters under his left eye, alongside a chest piece featuring comedy and tragedy masks engulfed in wings and a city skyline at its center.

TikTok: solarboy22

Conceived through the vision of tattoo artist Solar Boy, the internet appeared confused upon deciphering Hev Abi’s body art. With many relying on Google Translate’s capabilities, resulting in “Maling Premium Luncheon Meat” and “Scatter Paldo,” several were able to crack the code of his subtle celebration of his hometown.

According to a reliable source, the Alam Mo Ba Girl hitmaker’s face tattoo (神聖な心 ) translates to “Shinsei na Kokoro” or “Sacred Heart”—the Quezon City neighborhood where he grew up. 

Apart from the permanent tribute on his cheek, this isn’t the first time Hev Abi has given “Sakre” (local slang for Sacred Heart) flowers. He repeatedly mentions the barangay in his songs (such as 3 Sticks, Outside, and Lahat Gagawin among others), even naming his second studio album Sakre Boy, released last September 13, 2022.

Regardless of Hev Abi’s ability to amass over 6 million monthly streams on the Spotify platform, release three albums and an extended play in four years, and deliver a sold-out debut solo concert, the importance of home doesn’t seem to falter as he takes a part of Sacred Heart with him wherever, whenever.

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