Tuesday, May 21News That 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 typically found inside lapad bottled (lipid in Ilonggo) and sold together with other fermented and salted seafood like sisi (rock oysters) and brown mussels (tahong in Ilonggo). Tahong in Ilonggo is different from green shells, which are green mussels.

batitis
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 prevalent in other parts of the country, but to 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 that can be found in rivers and lakes, and it is abundant in brackish waters. There are many freshwater clams in the Philippines, and Batitis is one of them.

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

agihis-clam-shell
Agihis clam (shell)

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

In Tagalog, Agihis is called Tulya, although there are many species of Tulya, from big to small. I think the Philippine freshwater clams have 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 priced as Pasalubong and a 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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