"VT - My home away from home" utchie's Profile

Greetings! Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you take your time and read. I would appreciate any comments or corrections you may have for me. =)

Let me give you an overview on what to expect on this page:
PROUD TO BE A VTer - how and why I am a proud VTer
INTRODUCTIONS - a little something about me
PLACES - listing of where I have been and where I will be
ON RANDOM - stuffs to share

-MATTER OF CHOICES - Philippines in the eyes of a foreigner
-NISHAR & ME - under construction
-WOUNDED. HEALED. SCARRED. - On healing thyself..

I really hope you get to read all, but if you have limited time, MATTER OF CHOICE, a cute article written by a British reporter is a must read. The article, in some ways does not really promote Philippines. In fact, the writer was a little confused as he finds so many weird things about us pinoys. But beyond the lines, I knew he had fallen in love. <3

Wish you would too. We have so many issues here right now. I live in a third world country but who defines the measure of a true first class?My country is blessed with immense resources and gifted people and that is what makes this a GREAT country.


I remember the first time I came across VT. I was searching for destinations we can go to and Google always fetches pages from a site called virtualtourist.com.

I registered with the mere purpose of posting a question. Was I expecting a reply? Not really. It was just out of frustration that I actually posted a travel question.

WWW is my virtual sanctuary but I was never a fan of virtual societies. Yes, I have my Friendster account but those are for existing friends. I find cyber friendships surface deep. And I am not to waste time on something I have no intentions on nurturing.

An hour or two after my post, the Notice Console popped up. There was a response. And not just a simple response but a really helpful one. Then I learned to browse through pages and tips. As advised, members do have amazing travel pages which are built not only for the purpose of showing off, or for virtual travel albums but are actually built to make trips easier and fun for others. As I was reading tips, the console popped up again. Another reply? I was not really expecting for a reply but very helpful speedy replies?, it was overwhelming. And so questions and answers eventually turned to fun conversations. And I was receiving so much from so many members. I even got emails for novel-length tip. Wow!

Three months later, my (then) boyfriend (now husband) and I finally got our dream vacation. We were both first timers and all we have with us are pocket moneys, excitement, courage and a lot of tips from VT. Setting foot in our first stop, Banaue feels oddly familiar. It was just how the VTers described it. We had so much fun. Rates, inns, transpo mode, foods and every highlights are duly noted, all are mentally etched so we can share everything in VT.

I got more attached to VT when I finally logged in again and I have so many messages from fellow VTers wishing for a safe and fun trip or asking how it all went. Everyone was so excited for me and it feels so warm at heart.

Since then, VT has been my home away from home, even when I am right at home =). I am not a fan of virtual societies but VT is more than this. VT is my gateway to places and people abroad. VTers are warm, helpful, intelligent and decent. Conversations here range from corny to hilarious jokes, simple to mind-breaking questions, opinions, feelings or plain news. I have made new friends and is still making new ones.

VT lets me travel the world simply by taking part.

And that choice made me a traveller.


Hi. I am Ruzel, friends call me Utchie, I feel it reflects my personality more.

I live in Manila, Philippines. I am not as well traveled as the others and sadly, I used to not have a camera with me then. I wish to share with you the beauty of the places I have seen but for the meantime, believe me as I say that I live in naturally blessed country.

Aside from surfing the net, I spend my free time working out, photo editing, writing or reading. More excess time, I spend rearranging things, which I will probably rearrange again after a week.

I love the outdoors. I found out that I enjoy more in mountains than in open seas. I love trees. I love trekking but I often have asthma attacks after rigorous walking. Not to worry, cardio training is part of my work out. And I see drastic improvements. Hooray!

I value relationships. Commitment is never a light word for me. I am humorous (as you may see in my posts in misc forums), a natural born comedian as they say. I am very logical and simple. I do not let myself trapped by trying to please people; I learned this the hard way. I see life in a serious way but I live my life in smiles. I love to smile.

I am verbal. But now, I try to let out my feelings in writing first to avoid hurting others. We can always apologize for the words we said, however, the pain brought about by your words can never be taken back. This, I also learned the heard way. No matter how well you mean, it is still important how it will mean to others. We cannot live for ourselves.

I have so much energy in me. And I try to use it in positive ways. I have so much faith in me and so much love. I believe in God and that he made people for people. So I believe in friendships. It does not matter how you made them. What is important is how you keep them.

And I plan to keep you for a very long time, my dear VT friends. =)


Manila My hometown.
Bataan 1999. School’s field trip.
Vigan 2001. Spent holy week with my family.
Cebu 2002. Went with my mom to accompany my grandfather for check ups.
Boracay 2003. A family dream vacation.
Mindoro 2004. Graduation treat for me and my two bestfriends.
Zamboanga 2006. Family reunion (mom’s side).
Banaue 2006. With my boyfriend, when he came back from Saudi after 2 years.
Sagada 2006. Most memorable trip I ever had.
Baguio 2006. Our vacation’s last stop.
Laguna 2007. Held our farewell party for a colleague.
Pangasinan 2007. Went to Lady of Manaoag to give thanks and praises.
Subic 2007. Went here with my boyfriend out of boredom.
Tagaytay 2007. Have been to Tagaytay several times.
Calatagan 2007. A weekened getaway with friends.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.%s
-Proverbs 3:5-6



Hooray for VT Pilipinas
This was in VT Homepage - Nov 24, 2008 =)

Community + Community = VTerrific!!

It’s a simple formula with an unbeatable outcome - members of our fabulous travel community + community service equals great deeds, great fun, and a great VT example to the world. Thusly, the " VT Pilipinas” Project Team was formed.

The impetus for the project was the annual VT Manila Christmas Party, which will still end with the regular fun and frivolity; but the beginning of the party is where the real holiday and VT Team spirit comes alive. It will start with the group “donning their gay apparel” (VT logoed shirts) to go dashing off to the Golden Acres home for the aged to do charity work.

This is exactly the type of Virtualtourist team interaction that we at headquarters are looking for and will work to support. These enthusiastic members took our offer to heart and ran with it. It’s the “killa in Manila”…in every great sense of the words...and we love it!


Yehey! My first VT Meet.

November 15, 2008. Approximately 6pm at Jolibee Divisoria Mall, I met with Winnie (vt winzkie_d_pooh ) to buy gifts for our Lolas in Golden Acres.

It’s not your typical VT meet. We rarely had time to really talk and share stories. I was drenched with sweat, I have about 4 big and heavy bags in my hand and I have a big red nose (due to allergic rhinitis - dust) when I met with Winnie.

The picture at the side is the exact corner where we first met. (Fill it up with more people carrying big boxes on their heads to be exact.) Practically running (amidst the heavy bags we are carrying) and ignoring the boxes bumping on our head, feet stepping on our toes and other people trying to get ahead of us, we swam through a pool of people to be able to make it the store that gave us the cheapest price for housedresses. (The store in Ilaya St. is closing and I asked the owner to kindly wait for us as I went back to Divi Mall to fetch Winnie, who has the money for housedresses).

After some more shopping in Divisoria mall, we had our Dinner at Jolibee -168 mall. I made a mental note to myself to take at least a picture as remembrance of my first VT meet (First meet with someone I knew via the net) but forgot to anyway. I do not really need the picture to remind me of that day.

How can I forget anyway?
Thanks Winnie for the memorable night. =)


Golden Acres is a home for hundreds of elders, ages 60 and above, who has no other place to go because they either have no family left or were abandoned.

VT Pilipinas will be at GOLDEN ACRES this Dec 13 to share our blessings and just be there to give a smile.

Please follow the link to read more:
VTForum:Community Service to GA

Any donations, in cash or in kind will go a long way. Thanks.%c*

  • Intro Updated Dec 28, 2011
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Top 5,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
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Forum Rank:
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Real Name
Ruzel =)
City of Manila, Philippines
Member Since
Oct 16, 2006

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