First off - No Worries! Helping each other grow our orchids better is why this forum exists! So breathe easy and know you can ask any and all questions here without worry that someone will be mean or negative. We don't have members like that.
So, about your questions.
1. the grey thing you broke is an aerial root. Do not worry. It will not hurt much - most assurdly it will not cause doom for this orchid. (Just don't break lots of them. )
2. When you say you took the orchids out of their plastic pots, what kind of pot did you put them into? Orchids need air around their roots to breath. Most orchids (the ones you mentioned) are epiphytes and grow on the sides of trees or lithophytes and grow on rocks. If you put them into pretty ceramic pots with a glaze coating, they cannot breath and will not dry out properly. This is a normal mistake folks make - no worries, you caught it. If you put them into clay pots, then your spag was packed too tightly and therefor could not drain.
A common item to use to help create space for your orchids roots and help them keep air around them is to put peanuts (packing peanuts - the non-biodegradable kind) in the bottom of the pot.
3. Orchid Bark vs. spag. I like orchid bark because it works for my watering schedule. Others like spag and still others will tell you to go semi-hydroponic for the best success. The simple fact is that you have to decide how you want to grow your plants. If you like to water lots, then go with a larger bark mix or even lava rock. If you don't want to water very often, spag or s/h is a good method. I use a mixture of small, medium, and large barks, along with perlite (sponge rock), and charcoal. I always put a handful of packing peanuts in the bottom of my pots. I use plastic pots because they dry out faster, although I do keep some orchids in clay. Clay tends to pull the water away from the plant (good for some).
You should check out the orchid articles here on OrchidTalk. I put up a repotting article that you might find helpful. Also there is an article on growing phals that will tell you more about their requirements.