Wednesday, February 21Food Security Matters

Agihis or Batitis? What Shell is This?

If you speak Hiligaynon (Ilonggo) and are from Negros Occidental, you might hear of the term Batitis in the wet market. This Batitis is usually bottled and fermented They are usually found inside lapad bottled (lipid in Ilonggo), and sold together with other fermented and salted seafood like sisi (rock oysters), and brown mussel (tahong in Ilonggo). Tahong in Ilonggo is different from green shells, which are green mussels.

Batitis, Tahong, and Sisi. The “tahong” in this photo is brown mussel and not green shell or green mussel. Image credit Lazada

What is Batitis?

Batisis is not popular in Tagalog-speaking regions and other parts of the Philippines outside Western Visayas. It may be popular in other parts of the country but as for my knowledge, I am not aware of any other names as online resources are limited.

Even in Negros Occidental, not many people know what Batitis look like when they are not inside the Lapad bottle. Batitis is a freshwater clam and can be found in rivers, and lakes, and is abundant in brackish waters. There are many types of freshwater clams in the Philippines and Batitis is one of these.

When fresh and not deshelled, Batitis is called Agihis. Not many people, especially in upland rural areas where some Agihis are found in rivers, that Batitis and Agihis are the same.

Agihis clam (shell)

Agihis are not particularly popular in upland rural areas due to their smaller sizes and upland rocky rivers produce smaller Agihis shells compared to those in brackish waters where mostly sandy and not rocky.

In Tagalog, Agihis is called Tulya, although there are many Tulya species from big to small. I think the Philippine freshwater clams are yet to be discovered and more studies are needed.

If you visit Negros Occidental and stumble into this bottled delicacy, don’t hesitate to buy it because this tastes good. This is the reason why deshelled Agihis is a priced Pasalubong and delicacy.

There is no English term for Batitis and Agihis as it is generally called “freshwater clam, freshwater shell, river clams”

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