The MacArthur Highway cuts through the center of the town.
Gerona is one of the 17 towns of the province of Tarlac. It is bounded on the north by Paniqui; on the east by the Pura; on the south by Tarlac City (the provincial capital); and on the west by Santa Ignacia. The town is 73 km. from San Fernando City, the regional center; 50 km from Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City; and 139 km north of Metro Manila.
Gerona has a land area of 141.47 square kilometers of plain and rugged agricultural land representing 4.63% of the province total area. The Tarlac River, which originates from the eastern slopes of the Zambales Mountain, cuts across the west central areas, dividing the town into two parts.
The eastern area comprising of 31 barangays with total land area of 90.50 square kilometres representing 63.9% of the total area. It is characterized as plain, low-lying agricultural land.
The second part is the Western Area comprising of 13 barangays with total area of 50.97 square kilometres representing 36.03% of the total land area. It is characterized by hilly and rugged agricultural land and is also forested.
Gerona is politically subdivided into 44 barangays.
Gerona was originally named Paontalon. It was established during the Spanish colonial era, when Dominican missionaries in the Philippines started to propagate Catholicism in the archipelago in 1704. They had placed the Vicar of Malanguey (now Bayambang, Pangasinan) in charge of the mission of converting the inhabitants of Paontalon to the Catholic faith. The mission was successful, and in 1722, Paontalon was recognized as small village and became part of the municipality of Paniqui in Pangasinan.
However, it was only during the early part of the nineteenth century that the inhabitants of Paontalon flourished due to the migration of people from the northern provinces of Luzon in search for greater opportunities. It is believed that the first groups of people who came and settled in Gerona are the Ilocanos and Pangasinenses. This group of people settled on a side of a small rounded hill on the southwest slope of the town. They settled in the hill by the skirt of the 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 in favor of the later due the fact that the Pangasinenses outnumbered the Ilocanos.
However, in 1765, the name Barug was officially changed to Gerona in honor of General Nicolas Claviera who was at that time the Governor General of the Philippines who hailed from Gerona, Spain.
It was not until the year 1844 when Gerona finally became an independent town but did not have a Gobernadorcillo. The towns first Gobernadorcillo was only appointed in 1845 in the person of Don Anacleto Melegrito.
When Tarlac Province was organized by the Spanish Central Government, Gerona was among these towns which were incorporated into the new province of Tarlac.
Population size and growth
The 1995 Census on Population conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) shows that the municipality of Gerona, Tarlac has a population of 63,694; 8.30% of the municipality's population is accounted for the urban area.
The concentration of the town's population is observed in the rural areas, which accounts for 91.70%, of the total population of the municipality.
However, based on the quick count result of the 2000 Census of Population and Housing conducted by the National Statistics Office, Gerona has a population of 63,694.
Urban Rural Distribution
The National Statistics Office (NSO) preliminary report of 1990 shows that the Municipality of Gerona, Tarlac is predominantly a rural area. The urban areas of the municipality are as follows: Poblacions 1, 2, and 3. It has a population of 5,030 or 8.46% of the total population of the municipality as against its rural population of 54,456 or 91.54% in the year 1990. There is a slight percentage change in the year 1995, which is 8.30% for the urban population and 91.70% for the rural population.
Based on the 1995 census, Gerona, Tarlac is predominantly an Ilocano speaking town. About 78.09% of the total household population speaks Ilocano, while Tagalog is spoken by about 12.59% of the population followed by Kapampangan with 8.83% then Bicol and Pangasinan with the same percentage of 0.08%.
The 1995 report of the National Statistics Office (NSO) shows that the literacy rate in the municipality of Gerona, Tarlac is 95.95%, which means that out of 56,334 population 5 year olds and over, 95.95% are literate, while 4.05% have no grade completed.
Peace and Order Situation
Gerona is generally peaceful if the decreasing trend in the number of reported crimes is any indication. For the year 2000 our local PNP has an efficiency rate of 100% and an arrest rate of 93%. It is for this reason that our local PNP has been adjudged as best Municipal Police Station for three consecutive years from Year 1999 to 2001.
In our campaign for a drug free municipality, the Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council through the PNP were able to clear 11 barangays of illegal drugs.
Roads and Bridges
The municipality of Gerona has about 157.73 kilometers of road, which is classified into four (4) classification namely: national, provincial, municipal, and barangay. The total length for the national road is 18 km; for provincial road is 22.05 km; 4.45 km for municipal streets and 112.23 km for barangay roads. There are twenty (20) bridges found in the municipality.
The town is accessible by all types of public utility and private vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, cars and trucks. From the poblacion to and from the barangays, the most common means of public transportation are tricycles and passenger jeepneys. Private cars and trucks also are used to haul produce.
In year 2000 alone, there were already 509 tricycles that are registered in the municipality that serves as the basic means of transportation in the different barangays. Also, there are around 925 public utility vehicles (PUJs) plying various routes such as Moncada - Tarlac City, Camiling -Tarlac City through Gerona, Paniqui - Tarlac City, San Clemente - Tarlac City Via Gerona, Guimba - Tarlac City via Gerona, Tarlac City - Urdaneta, and Tarlac City - San Jose, Gerona.
Aside from these, other passenger vehicles that can be availed of are the Philippine Rabbit Bus Line (PRBL), Victory Liner, Santrans and other buses plying the route Metro Manila to Northern Luzon (except for the Cagayan Region) and vice versa.
Telephone services are provided by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Smart, Digitel and Telecom. Postal services are available at the Municipal Center. All barangays are supplied with VHF radio for emergency purposes such as in cases of calamities. Television, Cable TV connections and radio station are accessible through the networks in Tarlac and Manila.
There are now lots of internet cafes available, however, internet service providers are still from Tarlac City.
Power and Water Supply
The Gerona Water District services 866 consumers in eight (8) barangays: Poblacion 1, 2, 3, Abagon, Magaspac, Caturay, San Antonio and Pinasling. For the other barangays, their main sources of water are at least 350 deep wells with a depth of at least 110 meters, and by 12,749 public and private wells.
Electricity is provided by the Tarlac Electric Cooperative I (TARELCO I). Forty-two of the 44 barangays receive electrical power. Eight thousand five hundred twenty eight (8,528) households are enjoying the benefits of electricity. TARELCO I is being powered by 10 MVA, 2 MVA, and 5 MVA stations.
At present, the rate for residential/public building for the first 10-kilowatt hour is P39.58. For commercial establishments, the minimum for the first 25-kilowatt hour is P100.95.
There are two rural banks operating in the municipality. These are the Banco San Juan and the Rural Bank of Gerona (now defunct).
As of SY 2000-2001, the municipality has forty-nine (49) elementary schools, out of which forty-five (45) are public and four (4) are private schools namely; Mother Regina School, Marian School of Gerona, Sacred Heart School and United Methodist Center. In addition to this, the Gerona Catholic School has just opened its elementary and high school level catering only to kindergarten and first year high school. The public elementary schools are divided into two districts: the Gerona North and the Gerona South. the new Gerona Institute Building...
On the other hand, there are a total of seven (7) secondary schools existing in the municipality. Among these five (5) are public schools, which are located in strategic barangays to cater the needs of the youth in the far-flung areas. Also there are three (3) are private schools located in the Poblacion namely Gerona Junior College, Gerona Institute and Gerona Catholic School.
During the SY 2000-2001, the total enrollment in the elementary level was 11,551. Ninety-three percent (93%) of this accounts for students enrolled in public schools while seven percent (7%) accounts for students enrolled in the private schools. Public schools showed the higher rate of enrollment in the elementary level -- these are in the Tagumbao Elementary School, Magaspac Elementary School, and Gabaldon Elementary School.
Also on the same school year, the enrollment in the secondary level registered at 4,179; where fifty-one percent (51%) of the total number of students enrollees in the secondary level are in the public secondary schools and forty-nine percent (49%) are enrolled in the private secondary schools. Gerona Junior College and Gerona Institute (formerly Saint Catherine Academy of Gerona), both private secondary schools, posted the highest number of enrollees with 1,310 and 752 respectively. With regard to public secondary schools, the Tagumbao National High School had the highest number of enrollees with 602 followed by Gerona Western High School with 548 enrollees.
No school offers tertiary education in the municipality. Recently though, TESDA and the LGU were able to establish the Gerona Skills High school students who want to pursue their college degrees enroll in Manila or in nearby municipalities with facilities for college education.
The health of the people of Gerona, Tarlac are being taken cared of by both private and public practitioners. There are two (2) Rural Health Units (RHU I and RHU II), and are supported by the different private medical and dental clinics in the municipality. Among these are the Sacred Heart Clinic, Gerona Maternity and Children Clinic, and Go Medical and Children Clinic this also includes the six (6) dental and four (4) medical clinics present in the municipality of Gerona. RHU I is located in Poblacion 1 and RHU II is located in Barangay Pinasling.
Recreational, Hotel, and Restaurants
The most common sports and recreation facilities found in the municipality are basketball courts and plazas. Except for the barangays of San Jose and Tangcaran, all barangays have basketball courts. Every year, an inter-barangay basketball tournament sponsored by the Sangguniang Kabataan and an inter-commercial basketball tournament sponsored by the Office of the Mayor are conducted to entice the youth into sports and keep them away from all forms of vices.
A cockpit arena, the New Gerona Coliseum, is located at Barangay Macaspac. Villa Krystal Resort and Hotel, Arisland Resort and Villa Emilia Resort are few of the private recreation center that are operating in the area. These are located in Poblacion 3, Pinasling, and Amacalan respectively.
A luxurious landmark restaurant is also present in Barangay Salapungan along the national highway. The "Isdaan Fresh Catch Restaurant" is owned and managed by Rod Ongpauco, the same one who owns the Barrio Fiesta chain of restaurants.
Children's playgrounds are also found in schools and in the Municipal Plaza. Recently a children's playground was placed by the municipal government in Barangay Amacalan in order to provide children and parents alike a safe place for recreation.
Gerona is predominantly agricultural in nature. Around 70.36% of the total land area is devoted to agriculture. About 19.62% are built up areas, which are residential, and commercial. On the other hand about 0.41% or 58 hectares are devoted for industrial use and the rest are creeks/rivers, and forest areas. Vast agricultural lands (along the National Road) that can be readily converted for industrial use....
The present built-up area of the municipality of Gerona is approximately 2,776 hectares or 19.62% of the total land area. Most of the build-up area were allocated for residential uses, which covers 2,362 hectares or 85.08% of the total build-up area. A total of 14,396 households occupy this area wherein the average residential lot is registered at 1,640 sq. meters.
On the other hand, the commercial use covers 76 hectares or 2.74%, which includes the public market, and 253 registered commercial establishments in the municipality. Institutional uses covers 117 hectares or 4.24% of the total build-up area, which includes government lots, schools and churches. This also includes the 49 elementary schools and seven secondary schools present in the municipality. And lastly, there is more or less 220 hectares or 7.94% of the total build-up area recorded as open space. This is composed of parks, playgrounds and cemeteries found in the municipality.
The general pattern of built-up follows the traditional ribbon type of development where residences, commerce and other urban activities are mostly found along major roads and inter-sections.
In rural areas, sporadic to concentric pattern of development is observed. With the formulation of a new Comprehensive Land Use Plan for the Municipality of Gerona, covering the period of year 2000 to 2005, the proposed built-up area for Gerona will be approximately 21% of the total land area or 2,971 hectares. This is composed of the residential, commercial, institutional and open space. With the expected increase in population to 73,194 by the year 2005, an expansion in the residential use and commercial activities will also follow.
The industrial section in Gerona occupies an area of more or less 58 hectares. At present, there are 45 industries operating in the municipality. This includes agro-based industries like piggery, poultry, panocha or muscovado processing, rice mills/mini-cono and pancit/bijon manufacturing.
The proposed Agro-industrial Zone is will be in Barangay Padapada to cover 160 hectares, while the Light Industrial Zone will be along the stretched of the national highway that covers the barangays of Parsolingan, Amacalan, and Salapungan covering a total of 130 hectares. All-in-all, this will cover a total land area of 290 hectares.
The forest area in Gerona is approximately 263 hectares or 1.86% of the total land area of the municipality. This is located along the boundaries of the barangays of Calayaan, Mabini, Padapada, and San Agustin. This s part of the protected area specified by the municipality for reforestation.
Gerona is basically an agricultural town as manifested in the existing general land use. At present, the agricultural area is more or less 9,955 hectares or 70.37% of the total land area.
However, with the expected increase in population, agricultural area will definitely be affected and is expected to be reduced to 9,529 hectares. The minimum for the reclassification of an area is slightly observed.
Rivers and creeks
The remaining area of 1,095 hectares or 7.74% are composed of rivers and creeks. These rivers and creeks will be preserve to prevent flooding.
The urban area of the municipality of Gerona includes Poblacion 1, 2, and 3 has a total land area of 288 hectares. There are at present 1,172 households found in the urban area. The area covered by residential establishments is approximately 138 hectares. The commercial establishment occupies 8.8 hectares. On the other hand, institutional area comprising government property, churches, schools and clinics covers 9.7 hectares. Lastly, open space at the urban area is 1.5 hectares while the remaining 130 hectares were devoted to agriculture.
There are 253 commercial establishments operating in the municipality. Among these are the sari-sari stores which is the most dominant form of commerce in the municipality with 104 establishments or 41.11% of the total number.
This was followed by other forms of commercial establishments involved in trading with 74 establishments or 29.25%.Majority of the commercial establishments stated above are found in the town center, most of them located at the town's public market. The public market is located in Poblacion I. It has an area of 16,349 sq. m. with a total of 160 permanent stalls.
The market operates everyday but more traders come every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. There are forty-five (45) industries operating in the municipality, which are mostly agro-based industries like commercial piggery and poultry, panocha or muscovado processing mills, ricemill/mini-cono, and pansit or bijon manufacturing plant. These establishments are sporadically located in the municipality.
Municipal resolutions on businesses
(b) Resolution No. 73 and Ordinance No. 232 dated Sept 25, 1996: Requiring the sealing of standards/new system of weights and measures for a fee of P200 payable in the first quarter of every year.
(c) Ordinance No. 235: Providing sets of standards/new system in securing permits for the construction of agro/industrial commercial establishments.
Business districts and centers
With a Productivity Center located at Poblacion 3 (a few meters away from the National Highway), the municipality increased opportunities to invite investors to locate in Gerona. It has a floor area of 1,260 square meters. It is now rented by a Chinese businesswoman engaged in garments manufacturing. Its contract is to be renewed annually.
Available for rent is a two-storey, six-room concrete building with The Addison Building in Barangay Pob 3—approximate floor area of 580 square meters owned and managed by the local government. It is located near the Productivity Center (only about 15 meters away) in Barangay Poblacion 3, along McArthur Highway. In front of the building is an athletic field, a roofed basketball court, and a tennis court. It was used as a school building when it was formerly rented by Addison Technology Institute. Interested parties may contact us for more details.
The proposed transfer of the Public Market in Barangay San Antonio is expected to expand the business and commercial district of this municipality. Adjacent to the new location are hectares of lots available for development mostly owned by the Cojuangcos.
An investment group would also like to develop a lot in Barangay Amacalan in front of the BLISS Housing Project. A hospital cum educational institution will be erected in the middle of a 26 hectare lot ready for commercialization.
The mother of Thugalog, a producer for Sondalo Records, S.G.T Productions, & Hip-Hop-Silog Ent., hails from San Antonio, Gerona, Tarlac, Philippines. Majority of the townspeople there are his relatives (the Urbina & Gazmin families).
- Pasyalan Tarlac
- Offial LGU - Gerona, Tarlac website
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information