“Tarragona” is not a native word. According to old folks, a Spanish missionary who travelled doing his mission from Caraga Parish, the main seat of Spanish Prelature in Eastern Mindanao during the Spanish occupation, named Tarragona after a place in Spain. Upon reaching the place by sea, the missionary asked the natives about its name. Then, being so tired, he rested under the tree near the beach and wrote down route of his mission; but to his dismay, he forgot the native name of the place he inquired. Being so homesick, he just wrote down “Tarragona” in remembrance of his hometown in Spain. Thus other missionaries who succeeded him followed suit and called their new mission area Tarragona. That was how the municipality got its name. If one wonders who was the missionary who christened the place Tarragona and when was it that is yet to be researched.

Many years after the said event, serious efforts in cultivating the virgin area were introduced at the twilight of the Spanish regime. Settlers came with Don Gavino Gambong and Don Silvestre Lim to open the bush and timberland for agricultural crops.

Gradually, the lonely village by the sea began to grow. Soon abacas were seen growing along with coconut trees. Each year saw at least an improvement in the general aspect of agriculture.

By the early forties, abaca brought income to the local inhabitants. However, the unexpected explosion of World War II further hampered the slow progress caused by difficult transportation.

After the war, the community started to rehabilitate itself. The late fifties saw the citizens of Tarragona sending their children to schools outside the town for higher education. It was a healthy sign of progress.

On June 18, 1966, the former hamlet christened “Tarragona”, which was then a part of the Municipality of Mati, Davao, was created into a regular Municipality by virtue of Republic Act 4755. As provided by the said Act, the new town covered the barrios of Tarragona, Tubain, Ompao, Limot and Tagabakid, all of Mati. Out of the stated barrios, additional barrios of Cabagayan, Jovellar, Maganda and Tomoaong were created.

However, on June 21, 1969, by virtue of Republic Act 5925 amending R.A. 4755, Barrio Tagabakid was returned to the town of Mati while Barrio Dadong of the town of Manay, including its sitios, was added to Tarragona.

The first Municipal Mayor, Mr. Alfredo Abayon, Sr., was appointed by the province as Officer- In- Charge. Upon assuming his position, he turned the hall of their house to an office to hold the official transactions of the new town since there was no Municipal Hall yet..

In the late 1966, Mayor Alejandro Soliven,a former elementary school teacher, won the first election. He held his position for two terms. Among his first projects was the putting up of the original building of the Municipal hall on a lot donated by Dr. Benito Enriquez, a prominent figure in the province residing in the Municipality. In his second term, Mayor

Soliven put up additional school building in the elementary grades and pursued the maintenance of the few opened Municipal and Barangay roads.

The third election saw the emergence of Mayor Rogelio L. Enriquez who further developed infrastructure supports for the local constituents.

In the aftermath of EDSA Revolution, Mr. Jesus Espinosa was installed as OIC Mayor who subsequently his position up to 1988. His succeeding terms saw the upgrading of infrastructure supports in the different barangays and systemizing of social services for the local constituents.

In the process of the changing administration, the local people enhanced their socio- political growth. Indeed, the development of Tarragona, Davao Oriental has been made possible through the joint efforts of the local government and the private sectors. With the leading efforts of the Mayors who come in go but had left a remarkable development in Tarragona, the Municipality is ever ready to face new challenges and breaking through the doors of progress.

From 1992-2001, Tarragona was run under the leadership of Mayor Rogelio L. Enriquez. During his leadership, the landmark (Public Market and Overland Terminal) was constructed in Poblacion Area. In 2001- 2004, he was replaced by his wife,    Aurora D. Enriquez,  after winning over  Bonifacio  Masagnay on May 2001 elections. Mayor Aurora D. Enriquez  served one term after losing to Mayor Samuel L. Uy during her attempt for reelection in 2004. Since 2004-2010, the Local Government Unit of Tarragona was under the leadership of Mayor Samuel L. Uy.

Major farm to market roads were open like the 26 kilometer circumferential road that connect the upland barangay namely Ompao, Tomoaong and Tiubaon. Likewise, the Banhawan-Cangusan Road network was opened.

After continuously serving for three (3) terms as mayor, his brother, Nestor L. Uy run and  able to get  the mandate of the electorates of Tarragona by winning the mayoral election in May 2010.

During his first term, Mayor Nestor L. Uy has able to access 867 housing units under the Modified Core Shelter Project from the DSWD and maintained the engagements with National Agencies in accessing infrastructure project. The new landmark of the East Coast of Davao Oriental – the New Municipal Building – was completed under the leadership of Mayor Nestor L. Uy.

Now serving his second term, the unopposed Mayor Nestor L. Uy laid down the Executive and Legislative Agenda that will serve as LGU Tarragona development agenda for 2016-2019 as follows, to wit;

  1. Good governance for the improvement of public service;
  2. Infrastructure as factor for LGU development;
  3. Agriculture as the benchmark of economic stability and response to food security and poverty alleviation;
  4. Improving the quality of health services;
  5. Education as a lifeline for community to pull the constituents out of poverty;
  6. Promotion and provisions of basic welfare services;
  7. Protection of environment and eco-system and promotion of community-based tourism development;
  8. Maintenance of peace and order; promotion of public safety and drug free society.
  9. Improving revenue measures and improved tax collection.
  10. Developing Climate Change Adaptive and resilient community.

The 10 – Point Executive and Legislative Agenda is compliant to the thrust of the national government in its policy direction to eradicate illegal drugs and climate change adaptation.