The history of the Municipality of Gerona can be traced back during the reign of the Spaniards, when the Dominican Missionaries in the Philippines started to propagate the Catholic faith in the whole archipelago in 1704.
The Dominicans placed the Vicar of Malanguey (now Bayambang, Pangasinan) in charged with the mission of converting the local inhabitants of “Paontalon” (original name of Gerona) to become Catholics. In 1722, Paontalon was recognized as a small village and became part of the Municipality of Paniqui then under the Province of Pangasinan.
In the early part of the nineteenth century, the inhabitants of Paontalon started to flourish due to the migration of people from the Northern Provinces of Luzon in search of greater opportunities. It is believed that the first group of people who came and settled in Gerona are the Ilocanos and Pangasinanes.
The people settled on the hill by the skirt of a little forest that the Pangasinan folks named “Barug” meaning little forest or “Pugo” in Ilocano. It is believed that Barug was adopted as the name of the newfound settlement due to the fact that the Pangasinense outnumbered the Ilocanos.
In 1765, the name Barug was officially changed to Gerona in honor of the Spanish Governor General Narciso Claveria, who hails from Gerona, Spain.
It was not until the year 1844 when Gerona finally became an independent town but without a Gobernadorcillo. The Don Anacleyo Melegrito, the town’s first Gobernadorcillo, was only appointed in 1845.
When Tarlac Province was founded in 1873 by the Spanish Central Government, Gerona was one of the towns which were included in the new Province of Tarlac.
The rich culture of Gerona is exhibited in the daily life its people which can be attributed to their roots as native Ilocanos, Pangasinense, Kapampangan and Tagalog.
Together, they share a common love for the town but with each having unique beliefs, customs and traditions, thus creating a vast local culture. The Museo de Gerona is established to showcase the local heritage, artworks by local artist and writings of great people. The museum is located at the ground floor of the Municipal Library.
Farming is still the predominant livelihood in Gerona, in fact 66% of the total land area (14.147 hectares of plain and rugged agricultural land) is very suitable for planting rice, corn and sugarcane. And as producers of sugarcane, the town best selling products includes Panocha, Cane Vinegar and Muscovado. In addition, the residents of Barangay Caturay, a barangay which straddles along the Mac Arthur Highway, is now known in the lantern-making industry. Cottage industry has also been introduced and incorporated to the business sector of the populace.
WHY INVEST IN GERONA?
The progress in Tarlac City presents as an advantage and opportunity for the town to promote long-term investments such as residential developments, construction of factories and commercial establishments.
And at present, major industries based in Manila has started relocating in the municipality like Liwayway Corporation (maker OISHI products) and Philippine Ecopanel, Inc., which were brought about the Investment Incentive Program the municipality offers. More subdivisions, gasoline stations with amenities especially for travelers are now being developed. The whole business sector in the town is serviced by three banks and other bank companies have signified their interest in putting up a branch in Gerona. Mayor Dennis Norman T. Go has organized the first One-Stop-Shop for the quick processing of business permits, to be able to serve our constituents the first class service which they deserve from a first class municipality. In terms of security, Gerona has the lowest crime rate among 17 towns and city in the province.
A Composting and Recycling Center is fully operational. This facility is responsible with solid waste management of the town.