Therese Terlaje on “service” and “being real”

That afternoon, Therese Terlaje asked to meet in historical Tagachang Beach, Yona for the brief chat. It was an overcast day, and the slightly turbulent tide lapped up the limestone cliffs. A praying mantis made an uninvited call, placed itself squarely in the middle as if listening in on the conversation. She placed the creature in her hand, and let it stay there before releasing it safely in the grass.

It was refreshing to see a newly elected member of the legislature in a setting apart from the campaign trail, without any artifice.

Terlaje, the senator-elect who made it to the top three in the recent elections, has been described as genuine by voters. “Those were the thing that people would tell me. After the election, they would tell me, ‘you know, that picture of you in the carabao waving, that’s the reason why you won.’ It was so funny that they would tell me that that was the reason. I think it made them nostalgic for the happier days. I think that it also really solidified in their mind that I’m different, or that I’m willing to do different things,” she said.