Hi Sarah. You should reconsider changing your accommodations and re-book them at one of the resorts on Mactan in the Maribago area. The main reason being is that Plantation Bay is rather removed from everything and you would have to get a taxi to go anywhere off the property.
There are several resorts in the Maribago area which are of the same level as Plantation Bay. You might want to consider Imperial Palace, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort or Cebu White Sands. All of these will put you within walking distance to several alternate restaurant choices. You will also be close to The Jungle restaurant. I highly recommend going there for the cultural dinner show. By the way, Imperial Palace has a great waterpark that the kids will love.
I would advise you not to wander around in most of the larger markets unless you are a very brave and adventurous type...certainly not with young children. Stick to the shopping malls such as SM or Ayala. There is a small fruit and vegetable market in Maribago which is fine if you want to pick up a few fresh fruits, but be prepared to be charged inflated "foreigner prices".
I don't know what kind of search problems you've encountered so far, but it looks like there are a lot of accommodation options in Cebu City that varies from luxury to budget-type hotels, to pensions, guesthouses, etc. The rates appear to also be competitive. You can Google "hotels in cebu" OR check this web link I found on-line: http://www.agoda.com/asia/philippines/cebu.html
There are lots to do in Cebu depending on your travel interests. You can specify your interests further, so that you can be better directed by VT members.
Cebu holds a Reggae Festival, and it appears that Cebu City has been designated as the "reggae capital of the Philippines." You can check "Harambe Society," which is the organization that sponsors the Cebu Reggae Festival and inquire where the most current reggae venues are. Here's Harambe Society's website (http://www.harambe-cebu.iwarp.com/event.html) where a CONTACT link is provided with their local contact information noted on the page.
Good Luck & Enjoy Cebu City!
Favorite thing: Cebu is one of the most developed provinces in the Philippines, with Cebu City as the main center of commerce, trade, education and industry in the Visayas. The United Kingdom based Condé Nast Traveler Magazine named Cebu the seventh best island destination in the Indian Ocean-Asia region in 2007
Favorite thing: I'd suggest Cebu :) Manila is very cosmopolitan. Indeed, it's just full of buildings and getting around is difficult due to heavy traffic. Cebu is more balanced. You can go around the city and go to the beach anytime. Actually, there are a lot of beaches near the city. Check out Mactan Island which is only 30 minutes away. Islands like this http://chictraveller.blogspot.com/2008/08/island-destinations-nalusuan.html are at your reach.
i've been to cebu and davao, and i personally like cebu better :) here are the differences between the two:
CEBU - it's a good balance of city life and good beaches. the beach is a mere 30 minutes away, and at night you can go to the city anytime to enjoy the restaurants and night life. it also has a lot of tourist spots like Magellan's Cross, Sto. Nino, and Tops overlooking the whole city. if you plan to go to other islands like Bohol, Palawan and Boracay, there are a lot of flights from Cebu for that. Check out http://chictraveller.blogspot.com/ to have a preview of the places you might like :)
DAVAO - this place is a lot more laid back than Cebu. They have beaches too, but with a lot less options than Cebu. They have Eden Nature Park, Philippine Eagle Zoo and the like.
It's really up to you which suits you best. It would be good if you can visit the two places to experience what each has to offer :)
Found a place in the heart of Uptown district in Cebu City, El Gecko Restobar. A popular haunt of expats and locals with great international food, the cheapest beer in town, 30 peso and fantastic people. Multi screen TVs playing music DVDs and very welcoming staff!! I was new to the city and the regulars helped me with everything I wanted to know. Accommodation, places to see, etc. Big shout out to the owner, Marc, who even jumped in a cab with me and took me to a club. He stayed for a couple of beers until I met some people then went off back to work. Amazing bloke!!! Check it out!!!
Fondest memory: El Gecko Restobar
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church provides ample parking space for the tourists going to Kawasan Waterfalls. Parking fee is P50. It's quite safe to park there coz there are people watching your car.
Fondest memory: Diverse tourist attractions like white sand beaches, big shopping malls, waterfalls, mountain views, culture & history.
While at the Waterfront Airport Mactan, August 2005, I saw these promotions being advertised,
With airline ticket:
"Stay a while" PHP800 nett double, max 5 hours between 6AM-6PM
"Seven to Seven" PHP1000 nett double, 7PM - 7AM
Ask about it, I don't know of an expiration date.