*Tattoo done by Candi at Tuesday Tattoos

When people see my tattoo they always ask me what “to da dit” means. Well, here’s how I normally explain to da dit to people, and this is why it means so much to me:

It literally means “to the death”, just said in a Filipino accent.

At family parties and holidays, we always have a ton of people over our house – anywhere from 15 to 40 people at a time. We’re Filipino and Japanese, so you can always expect a ton of food, karaoke/singing/performing of some kind, and of course alcohol. Everyone is an Auntie/Uncle or a Tito/Tita regardless of blood relation.


My mom has 3 younger brothers (my uncles) who would always drink at the parties, and once all the “cousins” came of age, we started drinking with them. As we learned about Johnnie Walker or Patron & limes (or sometimes calamansi), we learned how to take shots. But instead of saying “Cheers!” our uncles would proclaim “To da dit!”

“What does that mean, uncle?” we’d ask.
“To da dit. To the death! When we cheers, we drink to the death!” Uncle Pie jokingly proclaimed.

When sh*t gets real.

The motto stuck because we started using the phrase constantly. It wasn’t a proper party unless we had said it at least a few times. Even the aunties got in on the shots sometimes.

But then sh*t got real. Life got real. My cousin Jonathan only 3 months younger than me tragically took his own life. Then my Uncle Pie, one of the uncles who taught us the phrase, passed away from leukemia. After that, the meaning changed drastically for our entire family. “To da dit” became something more real — a mantra reminding us to never forget how precious our lives are, to appreciate every single day, and most importantly, to appreciate each other.


Live your life.

It’s our Carpe diem.
             Seize the day.
             Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
             If not now, then when?
             To da dit.

It sounds cheesy, but when you understand that there may be no tomorrow, today seems like so much more of a gift. Life can be cut short at any moment, and you never know when, or how. The moments we create with each other are what matter the most, and are what we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

So that’s why I decided to start Make it Mariko. Because I had a dream, and I had nothing to lose. I had support from above (Jonathan and Uncle Pie) and below (my family). And I was determined to realize the dream for my life —  to create beautiful experiences in the world and in my local community, to appreciate every single day and help others appreciate it too, and create new family traditions, because family is everything. 

It’s all about the moments.

Magical, meaningful, and unforgettable moments. Moments worth remembering to da dit and beyond.

Here’s to more moments,