I think Laswa is a good example of what Ilonggo cuisine is all about. It is simple to prepare and the ingredients has to be fresh. My Lolo (grandfather) used to have a vegetable garden in his backyard and on some days my Lola (grandmother) would go there and pick whatever vegetable is in season and make it into a stew.
The flavor of Laswa is clean and sweet from the different vegetables you add to it. There is really no standard vegetables that you can use, but I would suggest that Okra should be there because it gives body to the stew and squash for added sweetness and color and whatever vegetables that are in season. I use shrimp as my soup base but you can use chicken stock or pork if you prefer, some use dried fish as a soup base too. This stew is a great side dish for grilled or fried food to counter balance the richness of the meat.
The crucial part of making Laswa is understanding the cooking point of the vegetables, there has to be a hierarchy when adding the vegetables to the stock. That is why this dish is best prepared at home, I don’t like eating this dish at turo-turo restaurants since they are continually getting heated up and thus the vegetables get overcooked.