Silken Voices, Silken Roads

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila embarks on a cultural journey  

Photos by Star Sabroso

The Grand Ballroom of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila reverberated with the sound of well-loved opera songs from talented performers who serenaded guests who celebrated the hotel’s second anniversary with a grand affair. 

From left: Karla Gutierrez, Francisco Aseniero, Marian Santiago, Asia’s Got Talent second runner-up Gerphil Flores, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila general manager Frank Reichenbach, Lawrence Jatayna and Renee Salud
“Dubbed as the Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner,” the event held last April 18 celebrated the 24-year journey of Venetian traveler Marco Polo through the Silk Road, with  elegantly-dressed guests who experienced a virtual travel from West to East in one delightful evening.

The Silk Road journey began with a Venetian collection of couture pieces by fashion designer Renee Salud, who took inspiration from the place that impressed the young Marco Polo and made him dream of traveling to places far and beyond.  

As models stood in the middle of the grand ballroom, canapes from Spain, China, and the Philippines were served, especially made by executive chef Lluis Pesarrodona. Chinese Black Marinated Fungus and Mahi Mahi Crudo were just some of the savory dishes served to guests who were warmly welcomed by general manager Frank Reichenbach. 

The culinary journey certainly paid homage to Marco Polo’s fascination with Europe. As the audience listened in rapt appreciation to Asia’s Got Talent runner-up Gerphil Flores and the Philippine Opera Company and Francisco Aseniero perform Italian opera song “Libiamo,” the satisfying appetizer of Italian Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio paired with a delightful 2014 Banfi Placido Pinot Grigio from Italy was served.

The intrepid traveler also went through the Middle East, an exotic region that became the inspiration for “Lakme,” a three-act opera with the song performed by Philippine Opera Company’s Karla Gutierrez and Marian Santiago. This also gave way for the feast of Baby Calamari and Roasted Duck, a walk through Asian cuisine. Continuing the journey through Middle East was violinist Joseph Brian Cimafranca with a contemporary piece, “Kashmir,” and a savory dish – the Chicken Kebab with orange-flavored hummus and dried fruits.

Gerphil Flores showcased her versatile talent with “Un Bel Di,” the most famous aria from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, followed by a dish the brings a taste of China, the Stir-fried Lapu-lapu and Tiger Prawn in XO Sauce and Soft Tofu. The world-class dish became even more enjoyable as Marian Santiago, tenor Christian Nagaño and baritone Lawrence Jatayna together with tenor Francisco Aseniero sang some of the most moving love songs, “Kismet” and “And This Is Beloved.”

China is truly the nation that made a big impact on Marco Polo’s journey because of the country’s rich and colorful culture. From his homeland in the West to the East where he made endless discoveries, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila celebrated the traveler’s milestones with the hotel’s pasta medley of Lemon Ricotta Tortellini and Fried Noodles with Scallops. The savory dish was followed by the very heartfelt rendition of “Yours Is My Heart Alone” and “When He Speaks” by Francisco Aseniero.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila celebrated its second anniversary by paying tribute to the milestones of Venetian traveler Marco Polo during his 24-year sojourn to the East through the famed Silk Road. Dubbed as ‘Silken Voices, Silken Roads: An Opera Gala Dinner,’ the elegant affair showcased models in Renee Salud creations, and guests were serenaded with operatic pieces rendered by the talented Gerphil Flores, Francisco Aseniero, Karla Gutierrez and Marian Santiago with music from the Philippine Opera Company.
After 23 years, Marco Polo then returned to Italy – bringing with him a rich treasure trove of experiences and tales about the different cultures and practices from the different regions where he traveled. Topping off the culinary journey were scrumptious desserts from the country that always brings the best of the best – France. A French-type cake made with layers of almond sponge Joconde soaked in coffee syrup were enjoyed by guests while listening to “Funiculi Funicala” and “O Sole Mio.”

And for one wonderful and magical night, the hotel brought its west to an amazing journey from the West to the East. The successful cultural journey definitely augurs more exciting things to come with Marco Polo Ortigas Manila set to celebrate this cultural journey every year.

For more information on Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, contact (632) 720 7777 or email [email protected] Visit or follow @MarcoPoloManila on Twitter  or Instagram. 


Topics: silken voices , silken roads , Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

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