Witzke Funeral Homes Inc.

5555 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, MD


Almira Tagala-Manuel

June 17, 1982June 24, 2019
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Almira Alpuerto Tagala-Manuel was given the gift of life on June 17, 1982 in Manila, Philippines.

She was born to Honorato “Jun” Totanes of Paracale, Camarines Norte and Vinia Libranda Alpuerto-Tagala of Gumaca, Quezon.

On June 24 at 10:33 AM, she had to give this gift back to her creator…

Almira, who just turned 37, passed peacefully at the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NCCU) surrounded by loved ones including the love of her life, her husband Joshua ”Macoy” Manuel.

Her brother, Adonis “Don” Alpuerto Tagala, held her hand gently until her last breath.

Sepsis ravaged her blood.

But her last breath was beautiful, just like her.

Her laughter, was infectious.

Her sweet smile, was enough to make your day.

Her hugs, were all is needed to take all the blues away.


Almira will always be remembered for bringing people together, may it be a simple lunch or dinner with friends and Family.

Her closest friends stood by her until the very end: Marwin, Olive, Nina, Roel, Crista, Dindin, and Marnex.

Her friends and family from different parts of the world came together, one last time, to shower Almira with their love and prayers

Almira was a proud Mascian and UP Maroon. A scholarship at Manila Science put her through High School. While the premier University of the Philippines provided her with the education to become a physical therapist.

Almira and Macoy came to Jersey City, New Jersey around December of 2016.

She moved to Maryland to chase her dream job as Physical Therapist.

As a physical therapist she has seen countless patients with neurological conditions such as ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, heart attacks etc. With a big smile on her face, Almira welcomes patients with challenging health conditions that limit their ability to move and perform everyday activities. For Almira, even the slightest improvement in each of her patient's physical function and mobility, means it is a step towards promoting their overall wellness and they are getting better. She took on such challenge and made a big difference in making the lives of her patients better.


On Tuesday May 28th, Almira suffered a hemorrhagic stroke due to Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST) - A massive blood clot that formed in the sagittal sinus of her brain that hemorrhaged into the surrounding brain tissues after the veins could no longer hold itself after it was clogged by a clot.

In saving her life, a team of Johns Hopkins neurological specialists possibly may have made a historic breakthrough by improvising and enhancing the current procedure of removing blood clots in the brain stroke patients.

Led by Dr. Jose Suarez, the plan was, if all conditions were met – the neurosurgeons would carry out a technique that has never been done before for this particular procedure called Balloon Venoplasty with Aspiration Thrombectomy (BVAT).

The standard procedure is thrombectomy (a type of surgery to remove blood clot from artery or vein) – but the medical team decided to use an unconventional method of using a balloon catheter, used commonly in heart surgeries, inserted through jugular vein to force the clot out. It was never been done before in brain surgery.

Venoplasty is a procedure used to open clogged veins by threading a balloon into the veins and inflated to open a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel.

Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 20% of all strokes according to Harvard Medical School and 30% to 60% of those who had hemorrhagic stroke die.

But Almira survived, albeit temporary… Thanks to the Johns Hopkins Medical team.

Dr Gailloud, the interventional neuroradiologist who did the procedure confirms that as far as he knows no one has published on this procedure.

If Almira’s autopsy proves this to be true, Dr. Romer said, “this is going to be huge.”

The autopsy data may confirm that the Balloon Venoplasty with Aspiration Thrombectomy (BVAT) used to save Almira’s life at the onset of Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST) may be used to save more lives in the future.

As Almira returned her gift of life to her creator, she left us with a medical breakthrough in neurosurgery that will be always be remembered as her healing gift for humanity that could save countless more in the future.

Almira is survived by her mother, Vinia. Her Husband, Macoy and his Mom. His brother Don and Arvin.

A Celebration of Almira’s life will be held at 3:00 – 9:00 PM on Friday, June 28, 3:00 to 10:00 PM on Satruday at the Witzke Funeral Homes Inc located at 5555 Twin Knolls road Columbia, MD 21045.

Memorial donations in memory of Almira can be made through:



  • Visitation Friday, June 28, 2019
  • Visitation Saturday, June 29, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, June 29, 2019


Almira Tagala-Manuel

have a memory or condolence to add?

Latoryea Hanna

July 8, 2019

My Dearest Mia, Words could never express how I am forever grateful to you for taking great care of Tita DiDi I ThankYou so much for your love and support of just being there for her, visiting her and always comforting her. You were a blessing in her life. I will miss seeing you at AAA and I know she will miss you dearly. AAA will never be the same for me. May God continues to comfort your husband, family and friends in their time of need. God Bless You My friend and Thank You for everything

Ingrid Alano

June 28, 2019

Wishart, I will always remember our sleep overs and billiard nights with Wewe and Nono even if it was 19 years ago. You introduced me to these people whom I can say are my forever friends. Thank you for bringing us together.

You will always be my wishart and now you are with Asti and Joyce. Say hi to them for me. Lablab ❤️❤️❤️

Paulette Johnson

June 28, 2019

Mia, it was really a pleasure meeting you at AAA Physical Therapy center. Words cannot explain how I feel about not been able to see you again. I will always have a special place in my heart for you. Your calm disposition and smile were infectious. So you know, when my 4 year old grandson met you he said you were beautiful. Rest in peace and I will pray for your family.

Rica Espiritu

June 28, 2019

I will always remember you because you light up the place with your humor and cheer. Something that we need when working in a call center, to keep ourselves awake and the spirit up. Thoughtful and sweet.

Ken Tort

June 27, 2019

I met Mia in 2003. We were both late for class, and had to sit at the back of the room, which led to the start of our beautiful friendship.
I will always remember Mia as the witty, funny, opinionated friend that will not hesitate to say “I love you” or “you suck”, whichever it is that you needed to hear. Thank you, Mia, for 16 years of friendship! You will forever be in our hearts.

Judy Sheppard

June 27, 2019

Dear Mia,
My heart is overflowing with thoughts of the hours of loving kindness you gave to me during the weakest moments of my life. Your healing hands were used by God to restore me. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I will see you in Heaven. Peace, Judy Sheppard

Sherrie Castro

June 27, 2019

Hi, Ate Mia. Though we've not seen each other in many years, I still remember our tambayan days at Perfect Pitch. That's where I met you and Kuya Macoy and our other friends. We were still wearing our white college uniforms and listening to our musician friends jam throughout the day. I still remember your smile and voice. I'll keep those memories. Keep smiling from above. God bless your journey.

Thania Catacutan-Caancan

June 26, 2019

Hi Ate Mia,

I can't find the words. All I know is that you broke thousands of hearts. May you rest in God's loving arms.



Almira's nickname: Princess


Almira's nickname: Princess


Baby Almira with Mama Vinia, Arvin and Don


Talented Almira


Talented Almira


Talented Almira


Almira's nickname: Princess


Almira's nickname: Princess


Birthday Girl