We weren’t expecting much from the AirAsia Create Camp Grand Finale. We thought it would just be a simple awarding and some of those necessary formalities, plus a lot of time spent clapping. But amidst heavy rains and getting stranded in Makati for 3 hours, we left the Create Camp Grand Finale inspired to make our own stories and maybe even book a ticket to explore the beauty we have here in the Philippines.

Our country has not been the best. Many people take to social media to raise awareness that the Philippines isn’t all white sand and crystal clear blue waters like how it’s marketed to tourists. We suffer from bad urban planning and spend countless hours in traffic every day. During the last 5 years I’ve been taking public transportation to go to and from work or school, I’m pretty confident saying nothing much has improved.

Still, wherever we are and whatever experience we have on the daily, the mission of the AirAsia Create Camp is to encourage us to move and tell the stories we hold dear in our hearts in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.

To finally motivate you to grab your phone or camera right this moment, here are the 14 inspiring Filipino travel photographers from the Air Asia Create Camp:

Paolo Garrido (@gpgarrido)

As the big winner of the AirAsia Create Camp, Paolo Garrido is dedicated to let his unique perspective shine. When asked what it feels like to be in the Top 4 of the bootcamp Paolo confidently responds, “Everyone has a different perspective, but we all have one goal.” He also says that the Camp has helped him find new friends and family, and experience things that are absolutely irreplaceable.

Sunset + Boat + Birds = biggest cliche in photography. Loljk #ChasingWonders #AirAsiaInTacloban

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Javi Cang (@javycang)

Javi is one of the 9 storytellers chosen to mentor the Create Camp participants. Although for the most part of the experience, he felt that he was the one being mentored by his students. As the saying goes, the student becomes the teacher at some point and for Javi, such moment was one of his most memorable ones from the Camp.

Cara Durano (@caradurano)

Cara won the People’s Choice award at the AirAsia Create Camp and it’s easy to see why. Though she often refers to herself as someone who often gets too emotional for anything, she’s a strong-willed woman who will go through mountains and valleys (literally!) to listen to countless stories.

Benj Ramos (@benjlramos)

Benj’s message to aspiring storytellers is to continuously improve your craft. Photography and videography are both only on the side at all times. Always remember that the real experience is the travel and the memories made then and there.

This is where our paths split: A valley of massive proportions with me walking along the right bank and you on the left. And moving forward to our respective destinations meant creating more distance. My eyes flit from the trail ahead to the divergent path, trying to find your form that I've become quite familiar with in the past days, among so many other miniature silhouettes that only grew smaller and smaller. It was a kind of tormenting prolonged goodbye but a beautiful one nonetheless. "I watched you walk along the other trail until I couldn't see you anymore" And then there was only me and the trail with days ahead to the other side of Sagarmatha. And during those long, silent days, you filled my thoughts 🌎 #LiveNomadPH #FreeSpiritsPH #AirAsiaInNepal

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Ray Ambler Baguilat (@rayambler7)

Ray’s comfort zone is his soft-spoken and reserved side. He doesn’t see it as a weakness though, for he lets his creations and his occasional sense of humor speak louder. Through this, he is able to share his personal voice and create lasting relationships with other people.

Nella Lomotan (@nellal)

Nella found that the most exciting part of the bootcamp was seeing the storytellers become more impactful with the way they travel. Communities are present everywhere you go and the social responsibility towards these groups pushes Nella to continuously listen to different peoples’ stories.

Taking photos of other people, particularly of those you don't know, is almost always a matter of sensitivity- knowing when it is proper to aim your camera at someone and click the shutter. I often find myself assessing that proper time, questioning if I am correct in my judgment. Often too, I've found confirmation that it is okay to proceed by the way they smile as you hold up your camera and direct it towards them. — I haven't had the chance to post these photos because truth is, I feel I never get to take portraits any justice but I wanted to celebrate the recent #WorldSmileDay (even though im late!) by remembering some of those moments when smiles have become a universal language to connect people together – me with strangers. Thankful to those I've met along the journey who have filled my tank of happiness through the simple, yet warm and sincere gesture of smiling. I always look back at these photos and remember the brief encounters and conversations I've had with them with nostalgia… and I smile! 🙂 #everydayasia #natgeotravel

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Jaip Saluba (@jaipsaluba)

Jaip’s strength is in filmmaking so his favorite bootcamp challenge was storytelling in motion. To be able to immerse yourself in the thousands of possible adventures in one area is overwhelming yet fulfilling. He urges aspiring storytellers to simply do what they love and chase their passion. “Patuloy lang,” as he puts it.

EUPHORIA. Photo for @dscvrvisuals Taken at Dingle, Iloilo

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Kyrke Jaleco (@krykejaleco)

Kyrke’s affinity towards nature comes from spending most of his life in his hometown in Baguio. He works as a filmmaker in the corporate scene, but his heart leads him to the mountains and beaches every once in a while.

Paolo Cuarteron (@paocua)

Pao’s occasional hobby became the passion set for a lifetime. Because he has asthma, he feels that going outside was something he “was deprived of.” And so travelling became a challenge for him to push his limits every single time he steps out of the city. It’s beautiful out there, and he’s never going to stop chasing that beauty.

Rachel Halili (@rachelhalili)

As a graphic designer by profession, Rachel takes her photography to another level by seamlessly integrating her unique art style into her shots. She is also the co-founder of the Where To Next Planner, a journal designed for every photojournalist and adventurer in the mission to combine passion and purpose .

Patrick Martin (@patrickmartin)

To be able to witness the impressive movements in nature is one thing but to learn about the culture and practices of a community is that great something that motivates Patrick to step out of his comfort zone each day. As the director of the AirAsia Create Camp series, Patrick aims to show how each individual is capable of turning passion into an everyday experience.

Enzo Cruz (@iamenzocruz)

The digital marketing industry gives Enzo a clear sense of the role of photography in the world. He makes time to seek adventure every now and then in nearby mountains or at magnificent locations outside the country.

Look around you. Impossible is happening everyday.

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Ayen dela Torre (@ayenonlife)

Ayen’s home is looking for and listening to unexpected stories from her travels. Her secret to success is to keep creating because stories evolve in ways you will never expect. When your story’s out there, then it’s out there and it will continue to pull more inspiring experiences that will keep you motivated for the rest of your journey on Earth.