Kalabaw became one of the two dominating tribes in Philippines while witnessing the fall of the other tribe, Matsing. However, after Matsing was absorbed, the tribe began to crumble by losing the remaining Immunity Challenges. Eventually, the three men and former Matsing member Denise Stapley entered the merge. Their tribe color is red.
Kalabaw's beginnings was considerably promising despite reservations at the prospect of having returning player Jonathan Penner on their tribe, notably Jeff Kent, who immediately plotted against him. This forced Jonathan into becoming less confrontational and more social than he was in his past seasons. Kent however, being a prominent figure himself having played in Major League Baseball player was also struggling to keep his legacy from haunting him, as tribemate Sarah Dawson knew who he was, while weathering a torn MCL which he incurred during the Day 1 marooning. The five new castaways quickly made an agreement to eliminate Jonathan first. Any plotting however was put on hold after Kalabaw won the Day 3 Reward/Immunity Challenge. On Day 4, Jonathan used the heavy rains as the perfect excuse to look for the Hidden Immunity Idol. While the rest of the tribe huddled in a nearby cave, Jonathan returned to camp under the premise of him looking for his eyeglasses. After almost getting caught by Dana and Dawson who also returned to camp to collect the flint to keep it dry, Jonathan found the idol, which happened to be on the lid of their rice bin. At the Day 6 Reward/Immunity Challenge, Kalabaw finished second, sparing them from the vote. Jonathan's discovery of the Hidden Immunity Idol proved pivotal as the men, Jeff and Carter Williams, cautiously accepted Jonathan's invitation for an alliance after using the idol as leverage, while the women, Dawson, Dana Lambert and Katie Hanson stuck with each other. This gender-driven change in Kalabaw's tribe dynamics was ultimately inconsequential, as they won two more Immunity Challenges, surviving the first ten days of the game complete with six members.
On Day 11, the two tribes would learn that they would be acquiring one of the two remaining members from the unfortunate Matsing tribe. A luck of a draw assigned Denise Stapley to Kalabaw, while Malcolm Freberg was sent to Tandang. A Reward Challenge immediately followed, and Kalabaw suffered its first loss.
Denise's arrival initially appeared to tip the scales in favor of the women, but it did not matter when Dana fell ill and decided to pull herself out of the game. Kalabaw later suffered another blow by losing the Day 13 Immunity Challenge, giving them a 7-5 numbers disadvantage. Facing Tribal Council for the first time, both Dawson and Katie were blamed for the loss, but the two campaigned to keep the original Kalabaws strong and vote out Denise. Meanwhile, Jeff convinced Denise to join the alliance of men, citing her physical strength as invaluable to the tribe. At Tribal Council, Dawson was deemed as the weaker of the two, and with Katie's vote, she was unanimously voted out, 5-1, but not before giving Jeff a kiss and a hug on her way out.
On Day 14, the tribes were required to physically engage each other in a Reward Challenge. The first round fought to a gridlock with nobody unable to move. The returning players, Jonathan and Tandang's Michael Skupin took it upon themselves and brokered a deal that if Tandang forfeit the challenge, they would receive Kalabaw's remaining rice reserves. The rest of Kalabaw were quick to agree with the deal after Jonathan promised to catch more fish to compensate for the lost rice, while the rest of Tandang were furious at Michael for brashly making a decision without their input. After much deliberation, Tandang surrendered, winning Kalabaw the challenge by default. The deal quickly proved to be a huge failure for both tribes, as Kalabaw started to experience serious hunger as Jonathan failed to catch fish like he promised, while Tandang was miffed they received less rice than expected.
On Day 16, Kalabaw lost yet another Immunity Challenge, further dwindling down their numbers to four. Katie, the only physically weak link remaining, lobbied to vote Jonathan out but failed, and was voted out, 4-1.
- The national animal of the Philippines, the "kalabaw" ("carabao" in English; scientific name Bubalus bubalis carabanesis), is a subspecies of the water buffalo. Important in agriculture, they are employed by farmers to plow their fields or haul their products to marketplaces, similar to horse carriages.
- Red is one of the three colors represented in the Philippine flag.
- Kalabaw is the first tribe on a non-Battle of the Sexes season whose original members entered the merge with only one gender. All original female Kalabaw members were eliminated before the merge, leaving only men (and Denise Stapley, whose original tribe was Matsing) to represent the tribe.
- Kalabaw has many similarities to Mogo Mogo in All-Stars:
- Both tribes won all the Immunity Challenges when there were three tribes.
- Both tribes lost their first member due to them having to withdraw under serious circumstances.
- Both tribes had seven members after one tribe was absorbed.
- Both tribes lost most of the challenges post-absorption.
- Both tribes had three original members enter the merge, two middle-aged and one in their 20's.
- Both tribes were the first tribe to have all of their original members eliminated, with their highest-ranking member being unanimously voted out and finishing in 6th.
- Despite being the only tribe to not have an original member at the Final Tribal Council, the eventual Sole Survivor was a member of Kalabaw due to the absorption.
- The only challenge Kalabaw won post-absorption was via forfeit; the other challenges they won were during the three-tribe phase.
- They lived at the same beach that Bikal lived on during Caramoan. It is known as Tayak Beach.