APPREHENDED. The Malay municipal police on Thursday (Oct. 10, 2019) fined the Taiwanese tourist (in shorts) PHP2,500 for “display of erotic and lewd picture”, for wearing a two-piece string bikini at a beach on Boracay Island. Officials of the Boracay Inter-Agency Management and Rehabilitation Group and the police urged tourists on the island to respect Philippine culture and tradition. (Photo courtesy of Tristan Gelito Padilla)

ILOILO CITY -- Officials of the Boracay Inter-Agency Management and Rehabilitation Group (BIAMRG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday encouraged tourists visiting the world-famous Boracay Island to respect the country’s culture and tradition. 

Foreign tourists should observe proper decorum as a form of respect for Philippine culture and tradition, BIAMRG chief Natividad Bernardino said a day after images of a female Taiwanese tourist, wearing just a two-piece string bikini, went viral on social media.

“We have our own cultural values as Filipinos and Asians. They should be able to respect that,” Bernardino said in a phone interview. “There is no dress code (being followed). Maybe it is just common sense,” she added.

The Taiwanese tourist, with her boyfriend, left their hotel on Wednesday afternoon, wearing just a string bikini, even though the hotel management told them that it was inappropriate, Bernardino said.

Despite the hotel management’s advice, the same tourist again donned another pair of string bikini on Thursday morning.  “They were told not to by the hotel management, but they said it was a form of art,” Bernardino said.

She said hotel and resort owners have a protocol for orienting their visitors on the dos and don’ts on the island.
“(Pero) hindi pa very extensive, kaya nalulusutan tayo ng ganyan (However, it is not very extensive, that’s why there are still offenders),” Bernardino said.

The BIARMG has reported the incident to the Malay municipal police station.

Malay police chief, Maj. Jess Baylon, said the tourist was apprehended on Thursday afternoon.

In a phone interview on Friday morning, Baylon said the tourist was fined PHP2,500 for “display of erotic and lewd picture.”

“We have this action taken for other tourists not to follow (the act) and (it is) also an eye-opener for resort owners to brief (their) guests to dress appropriately,” he said.

Baylon said the tourist’s boyfriend claimed that the “string bikini is normal in their country.”

“Her boyfriend said, ’It’s quite normal for us in our country and that was her way to express herself with confidence,’” he said.

“But their customs and traditions are not the same in our country. They have to respect our culture and tradition, and our proper decorum,” Baylon added.

The Taiwanese couple is scheduled to leave Boracay Island on Friday afternoon, he said.

Baylon also urged hotel and resort owners to have their own protocol for informing guests about municipal ordinances. (PNA)