The story of Lionel and Anna Froidure. An Interview.
By Jeffrey Cabuay, France
The love story of Lionel and Anna Froidure started with his passion for martial arts. He came from parents who are both Karate instructors. Lionel officially started doing Karate at the age of 6, competed at age 14, and became part of the French national Karate team at 16. Impassioned by martial arts, he started trying different disciplines until he discovered Arnis Kali Eskrima, a martial art native to the Philippines. Since Lionel adores photography and videography, he combined this with his love of martial arts to form his company, IMAGINARTS*, a martial arts media company. He got the opportunity to produce his very first video, an Arnis video, through the invitation of Grand Master Dani Faynot, in the Philippines. This is the time when he met his wife, Anna, who is a native of Taguig.
How did you meet?
Anna: First time was in 2009, Lionel dropped by one night to have dinner at Dani’s house before going back to France. Dany is my brother-in-law.
Lionel: I came back the following year, in September 2010, to stay longer. I planned to have the Philippines as my base of operations so that I can make martial arts videos from all over Asia. I came back to the Philippines 2-3 times a year.
Anna: That’s the time we became closer. I was helping him with administrative matters.
First impression of each other?
A: Snob. Typical French.
L: Frankly, I could not remember my first impression.
So, it was not love at first sight?
A: Not for me. I don’t know with Lionel.
L: Mmm... No
When did you know that Lionel had a liking for you?
A: I didn’t know yet but in October 2010, when he came back from Malaysia, he started to become a little bit aloof. Yun pala may gusto na pala siya sa akin (That’s the time I knew that he started to like me).
L: This was before our planned Christmas vacation together with Anna’s elder sister, Hannie, and his French husband Dani. I was staying in their house. They noticed that we had a little something going on between us. They spoke to me saying that they did not like what they were seeing. Although Anna was already an adult, out of respect for the culture, I should be asking permission to court her. Anna didn't have her parents anymore at that time, so it was they who acted as her parents... so I asked permission to court her.
A: Namanhikan siya.
What happened next?
A: Months went by where Lionel courted me. Then when Christmas came we went to enjoy our planned vacation with my sister and brother-in-law at Siargao.
L: During the vacation, Dan and I were practicing and recording some Arnis videos and I’ve noticed that he was hitting me a lot on my hands. That did not happen as often as that time so I was thinking he might be telling me not to play around with Anna and that it was a serious matter.
How did the courtship go?
A: What I appreciated with Lionel is that he went out of his way to court me. He courted the Filipino way. I played hard to get, of course. Nagpaligaw muna ako.
L: It was a combination of Filipino courtship and my style since I also wanted to let her know my French courtship style.
So, did you like the Filipino courtship rituals?
L: Yes and no. I wanted to do it because I wanted to court her properly but it was very different from the French way. It took some time so it was frustrating, but it went well. We had a good feeling about each other. We had a good relationship.
When did you know that he will be proposing?
A: He had to go back to France now and then, there were times when we had a long-distance relationship. In October 2011, he invited me to dinner in a hotel in Alabang. This was unusual. It was at that point that I thought that he will be doing something special.
When did you get married?
A: July 2012
What is the character that you like with your spouse?
A: Lionel is very optimistic. He is also goal-oriented. Whenever he sets one, he goes for it and achieves it.
A: He does not, however, know how to dance so whenever he tries “kengkoy” siya.
L: I particularly like her conscientious and meticulous handling of things. She likes it done very well even though it will take her longer to accomplish something.
Favorite activity together?
Eating and drinking. Photography and doing videos. Going for adventures. Travelling for work and pleasure. Going to the beach and surfing. Watching Sci-Fi series.
The favorite food of your adopted country?
A: Confit de Canard
L: For salty: Chicken adobo, chicken curry, anything with chicken, sinigang, afritada. For sweet: Banana cake and rice cakes (any dessert with glutinous rice)
L: Anna, is a very good cook.
Something surprising about the Philippines/France?
L: Hamburger steak with rice. I just don’t understand why they do that.
A: French people love to spend their time sharing and talking during meal times plus the fact that there is a lot of time talking since there is the aperitif, entrée, main dish, cheese, dessert then coffee.
A: They love cheese, even the smelly ones. I believe that it tastes good even if it smells awful because it’s the same thing with our dried fish. Good thing I’m lactose intolerant so I have an excuse when it’s time for cheese.
Do you cook?
A: Yes. Cooking is my passion.
L: No. I know how to cook rice if you give me a rice cooker (laughs). It’s Anna who cooks. She is very good. I like everything she cooks... well, except fish.
A: No, he doesn’t like fish.
I’ve heard that your soon-to-be 6-year-old son, Liam, was born on February 14. Who chose his name?
L: We both did. We discussed it and decided on it.
A: I think I did but for Lionel to agree on it, I convinced him that Liam is a combination of Lionel and his father’s name, Lilian.
Lionel continues to produce videos and writes about martial arts*. He travels around promoting mostly Karate and Arnis but other forms of martial arts as well. In his talks and workshops, he makes people discover our native martial art system and with it shares the beauty and nuances of Filipino culture through his own experiences.
Lionel’s passion for the martial arts led him to discover Arnis Kali Eskrima, fall in love with the Philippines, and ultimately find the love of his life. Lionel and Anna now live in the south of France. They have a son, Liam, who was born on Valentine’s Day.