It was a happy accident, when Filipino fashion designer Francis Libiran and American businessman Christian Mark Jacobs met while separately vacationing in Paris back in 2014. “I was living in Singapore at the time and I was touring Europe with my mother, while Francis was traveling with friends,” Christian narrates to ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “I missed my flight back to Singapore and met Francis serendipitously at a café.” Francis and Christian instantly hit it off, the latter recalls. "We both want the same things in life... We had an instant connection because the direction we saw our future going in was so in sync.”
The so-called honeymoon stage followed a rather time-effort-and-money-consuming challenge—being in and maintaining a relationship long distance. "But we committed to seeing each other every two weeks to make it work," Christian, of The Naked Patiserrie, says.
[related: Love Actually: Soon-To-Wed Couple Ethan David And Roland Rittenau Redefine Boundless Love]
In 2017, the relationship eventually progressed into marriage, in the form of a star-studded dream wedding in Boracay. For years now, Francis and Christian's story has held strong with beach trips, travels, and quiet, quality time while tucked together in their own nook. “Some of our happiest days are Netflix-and-chill days at home, with me cooking and Francis cuddling our long-haired chihuahua Rocco,” Christian amusingly reveals. “We value authenticity and the simplicity of life.”
The next step for the wedding gown master and luxury bakery owner? Adoption, maybe, all as they both join the LGBTQ+ community in pushing for nothing more but equality. “Many people in the Philippines are open-minded; the law just needs to catch up with the culture and the times,” Christian declares. “I have felt loved and embraced for who I am by everyone I have personally encountered in the Philippines.”
[related: Love Actually: Celeb Hairstylist Renz Pangilinan And His LDR Story With American Beau Adam Lewis]
The struggle is going to get more real, Christian sighs. “Well, you get (hateful comments) from time to time but I guess face to face, it’s harder to discriminate because up close, you see that people are just people and that we are all inherently tied together, living the human experience."
It has since become the couple's decision to block everything out and leave space only for the who's and what's that matter. “You need to set boundaries and decide how close you let people into what is sacred and should be kept protected,” Christian stresses. “At the end of the day, a relationship is just about the love shared between two people—I guess we just have a ‘Just forget the world’ mentality, like the Snow Patrol song.”
ALSO READ: #ABSCBNLifestyleInspo Sue Ramirez: And My Secret Beach Spot Is...
Photographs taken from instagram.com/thenakedfoodie_official