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    Samantha Revita is 10 years old, and Sarah Jane Cua is 15. Yet at their young age, they have brought much pride to their hometown of Rosales, Pangasinan as well as our country by bringing home the gold in international competitions.


    At the My City, My SM launch in SM City Rosales, Pangasinan Tourism Officer Ma. Luisa Yldawan, SM VP and My City, My SM project head Millie Dizon, Chess Champion Samantha Revita, Sudoku Champion Sarah Jane Cua, National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, Rosales Mayor Ricardo V. Revita, and SM City Rosales AMM Jersey Mendoza.

    Samantha, a Grade 4 student at the Rosales North Central School, has won the National Age Group Chess Championship every year since 2006, and has represented the Philippines in the ASEAN Age Group Chess Championship, where she won a gold medal in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Sarah Jane, on the other hand, won the Philippine Sudoku Super Challenge in 2009 and 2010, and topped Brand’s 1st Asia-Pacific Sudoku Challenge held in Singapore in 2008.

    They represent the dynamic youth wave in Rosales, that is fast emerging from an agricultural town to a thriving urban community with an SM mall, SM City Rosales. Here, they share stories about their Rosales, their SM.


    Samantha Glo Revita with siblings Ria and Nazreen Sam at the Toy Kingdom Express of the SM Department Store.

    Manila Bulletin: How did you get to be so good in chess and in Sudoku?

    Samantha: I started playing chess with my Papa, Sammy V. Revita, when I was three and a half years old. At first it was more of play for us, but I liked it so much I spent a lot of time on the chessboard.

    What I like about chess is that it allows you to think and use your mind. Today, I practice for seven hours during weekends, and for two hours during schooldays. My Papa, along with Rosulo Cabusora, Jr. and Michael Allan Carino are my coaches.

    Sarah Jane: The Mathematics Trainers Group (MTG) introduced me to Sudoku. At first, I tried it out of curiosity, and then I got to like it.

    I like Sudoku puzzles because they involve a lot of analysis, and practice a minimum of thirty minutes daily, spending more time when there is a competition. There are different ways of solving Sudoku puzzles, through books, and sometimes on-line. I like trying different ways.


    Sarah Jane Cua with mother Maria Helen and sister Cindy Mae at the Ladies’ Accessories section of SM Department Store in SM City Rosales.

    MB: How do you balance your studies and chess and Sudoku?

    Samantha: I spend more time on my studies during schooldays. Mama tutors me with my schoolwork, while Papa trains me with my chess practice.

    Sarah Jane: Through time management and knowing my priorities. During schooldays, I do my homework first and then practice Sudoku. My Mom sees to it that I have a good foundation in academics and that studies are my priority.


    Rosales boasts of marvelous Eco-Tourism sites, and the province reaped the award as the most Outstanding LGU in Eco-Tourism and promotion and environmental protection in 2006.

    MB: If you were to bring guests around Rosales, where would you bring them?

    Samantha: I would take them to our eco-tourism sites where they can enjoy boat riding at a small new- found lake on the dam site. I will also take them to the Rosales Grotto where prominent personalities like have found spiritual peace.

    Rosales also has many native delicacies to offer like the exotic frog, dacumo (crab), bisukol (native big snail, paltat (catfish), tupig and bibingka, which I will let them dry.

    Sarah Jane: I would take them to Hundred Islands where they can enjoy island hopping and boat riding, and to the resorts in Bolinao where there are a lot of fun water activities. I would also take them to the Manaoag Church, where thousands of pilgrims go to visit Our Lady.

    Of course, no visit to Rosales would be complete without tasting our seafood, especially the bangus or milkfish.


    One of Rosales’ attractions, especially for the religious, is the Our Lady of Rosales Grotto, a pilgrim site built in Barangay Station District following the apparitions on Rowel Darang starting in 1987.

    MB: What do you think is the most endearing quality of your hometown?

    Samantha: The presence of sons and daughters who have become great achievers and given much honor to Rosales like National Artist for Literature and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee F. Sionil Jose. They are a source of inspiration for young people like myself.

    Sarah Jane: The simple life which we all enjoy. Being a small town, we all know each other and are all close to each other.


    SM City Rosales, SM’s first mall in Pangasinan, has redefined shopping standards in the area.

    MB: What impact did the opening of an SM mall have on Rosales?

    Samantha: Before the coming of SM to Rosales, it had already earned some distinction as a thriving municipality, but the transformation from what people used to call a “sleepy old town” to a progressive place became complete with the opening of SM City Rosales.

    The mall has given many employment opportunities to the Rosales work force, and it has given joy to people of all ages. Senior Citizens in Rosales can enjoy free admission in the mall’s cinemas.

    Sarah Jane: Before the opening of SM in Rosales, we had to go far to enjoy shopping, eating, out, and watching movies. Now, we have it right here in Pangasinan. SM has also given a lot of employment opportunities to people in our hometown.
    MB: What do you like doing in SM?

    Samantha: When you are in SM, you see light, hear music, and enjoy the cool atmosphere that makes a trip to the mall so enjoyable. After long tiring hours in front of the chessboard, I run to SM to relax. I love Toy Express at the SM Department store, which delights me endlessly, and of course eating out with my family in Jollibee, Chowking, and MacDonald’s.

    The coming of SM also made modern gadgets, electrical, musical, audio and video equipments accessible and affordable to us. I really believe SM is for kids.

    Sarah Jane: When we are in the mall, we usually shop at the Department Store and eat out. SM is so convenient, and it truly has it all.