“Tarragona” is not a native word. According to old folks, a Spanish missionary who traveled 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.