The Tagakaolo inhabit the western shores of the gulf of Davao and south of Mt. Apo. "Tagalaya", from the mountais, indicates that they came from the river sources. At present, they are also found in the coastal towns of Malita and Lais and Talaguton Rivers. Large Numbers live in Malalog (Cavada, II, p.221). Their population is approximately 124,698 (OSCC, 1987). Members of the tribe can be recognized by the close fitting suits of red and striped cloth. The majority of them have hair curled in locks. The teeth are usually mutilated and blackened, while shaving of the eyebrows and tattooing of the left forearm is common in them. They have always been broken up into small groups, often at war with one another, yet they appear to be quite uniform in type, language and religious beliefs.
They believe in the supernatural being who is said to live in Mt. Apo. The Tagakaolos bring with them human sacrifices to this spirit of good and bad, especially when they imagine that he is angered or when they come to the volcano to gather sulphur. (Ausland, 1881, p. 219)
Each upland river valley or highland plain was inherited by primogeniture. The datu was both judge and defender of his fellowmen, who in turn work his fields. A wealthy datu could secure, either by capture or by purchase. Each datu is the autonomous chief over an area.