Be careful if you plan to wear an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini.
According to the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA), a Taiwanese tourist, who was on vacation on Boracay Island with her boyfriend, was apprehended and fined for wearing a string bikini that has been called “inappropriate.”
Officials of the Boracay Inter-Agency Management and Rehabilitation Group (BIAMRG) and the Philippine National Police have issued a statement asking tourists to respect local culture and traditions.
Pictures of the young woman, identified as Lin Tzu Ting by The Daily Mail, went viral on social media, showing her in a small, white bikini. According to PNA, the couple was warned by their hotel staff that the woman’s outfit was considered inappropriate, but they decided to ignore these comments as they headed off to the island’s famous white-sand beaches.
According to The Daily Mail, the couple visited Puka Beach twice while the woman wore swimwear considered inappropriate.
“They said it was a form of art,” said BIAMRG chief Natividad Bernardino. The Malay police chief, Major Jess Baylon also told PNA that the woman’s boyfriend claimed that a string bikini was “quite normal for [them] in [their] country and that was her way to express herself with confidence.”
However, since the couple was in a foreign country, Bernardino says that they should have heeded the hotel’s warnings as well as local customs. “We have our own cultural values as Filipinos and Asians. They should be able to respect that,” Bernardino said to PNA. But she added that there are, technically, no official laws regarding dress. “There is no dress code (being followed). Maybe it is just common sense,” she said.
Baylon told PNA that the woman was fined 2,500 PHP (Philippine Peso, or about $48 USD) for “display of erotic and lewd picture.”
Bernardino told PNA that local hotels should be active and tell tourists about proper decorum and dress. Though it seems like it’s really up to guests as to whether they follow the advice.