So I bought ADA on pancakeswap and to view it I had to add a custom token. But after reading about this I am now confused. Is the ADA in my metamask not cardano?
Very likely not. AFAIK, Metamask mainly deals with ETH & ERC-20 tokens and can also be connected to the Binance Smart chain. ADA only exists on the Cardano Blockchain (i.e. is not an ERC-20 token). What you have is likely a Cardano token on the Binance Smart Chain.
This is a “wrapped” or more like “pegged” token on Binance. Binance is creating those tokens, and you need to be careful not to send real ada to such addresses. (protocol wise it does not work, but they are allowing it on their site)
This was addressed here: How to safely withdraw your ada from exchanges